Oslo/Washington: Middle East envoy Tony Blair has said that a two-state solution is the only way to solve the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to host peace talks in Washington with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.
The former British prime minister is urging both sides to use the opportunity of the cease-fire that took effect June 19 to try to reach a peace agreement.
During a visit to Norway on Friday, Blair also reiterated his calls for a new plan to provide "humanitarian help" to people in Gaza.
Earlier this week Blair called off a planned visit to Hamas-ruled Gaza after Israel's Shin Bet security service warned he might come under attack there.
Blair said yesterday he wanted to go to Gaza to tell people "you are not alone".
Rice plans to host peace talks in Washington with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators on July 30, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Thursday.
Rice met a Palestinian delegation in Washington on Wednesday and offered to host the three-way meeting between herself, chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmad Qurie and his Israeli partner, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Erekat said.
The top US diplomat is mediating efforts to reach a peace agreement this year between the Palestinians and the Israelis, in the waning months of Bush administration, which ends in January 2009.
Erekat said efforts were also under way for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to meet Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert next week, but he had no further details.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack declined to confirm the July 30 date for three-way talks but he said Rice would continue to work hard on Palestinian statehood negotiations and this included such meetings.
"Trilateral meetings, she's going to, I'm sure - in the coming weeks and months - she's going to have more of them," said McCormack.
The White House also said it could not provide details. "There's nothing to report right now," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
Israeli officials had no immediate comment on such a meeting but Rice has met the negotiators from both sides on several occasions.
The United States revived Palestinian statehood negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians at a conference in Annapolis, Maryland, last November.