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Miss Rice“s appearance with the Saudi foreign minister was punctuated by several negative comments from Mr. al-Faisal about Israel, saying the Jewish state was expanding settlements in the West Bank, which “casts doubt on the seriousness of the negotiations.”

“I don”t know what more outreach we can give to the Israelis,” the Saudi official said.

On Iran, Mr. al-Faisal said that Iran is a “neighboring country” and that “we have nothing bad towards Iran,” while also calling on Tehran to avoid escalation over its nuclear program.

Mr. Bush will depart today for Egypt before heading home later in the day.