|Rice in the Middle East to push for agreement|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Monday, 25 August 2008 10:45|
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has arrived in the Middle East on a visit aimed at bridging the gaps between the positions of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli government freed 198 Palestinian terrorists this morning to coincide with her visit, a gesture of 'goodwill' to President Abbas and the peace process. The US government has been pressuring both sides into formulating an agreement that would minimize damage to the peace process as a result of the upcoming Israeli elections. They were also hoping the document could be presented at the UN General Assembly in September as evidence of progress made since the Annapolis peace conference last year. But Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has been reluctant to draft such an agreement, fearing talk about a deal could hinder her own prospects of being elected as Prime Minister.
Quote: "Speaking to reporters as she flew to Tel Aviv, Rice suggested there was little chance of getting some kind of agreement on paper in time for the U.N. General Assembly, which begins in September. "It's extremely important just to keep making forward progress rather than trying prematurely to come to some set of conclusions," she said. "We continue to have the same goal which is to reach agreement by the end of the year. (There is) a lot of work ahead to do that and obviously it's a complicated time, but it's always complicated out here," Rice said.
Rice is also expected to discuss recent developments in Russia with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Tensions increased between the two nations this month over Israel's armament of the Georgian army. Jordan and Syria are also presently seeking to boost their economic and military ties with Russia at this time. And now a Russian fleet has been stationed at the Syrian port of Tartus for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union. The flotilla is led by the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, along with the Russian Navy's biggest missile cruiser Moskva, and at least four nuclear missile submarines. Syrian President Bashar Assad has also offered to place advanced Russian missiles on Syrian soil to act as a counterbalance to US missiles in stationed in Poland. Russia is still planning to host a follow-up gathering to the Annapolis peace conference in November, by which time it was hoped a Palestinian state could be established. But these latest developments will have everybody asking the question, is Russia really seeking to further peace between Israel and the Palestinians, or are they simply seeking to increase their own dominance in the Middle East? And if they cannot do this through peaceful means, will they resort to war like in Georgia?
The Bible seems to indicate that Russia will be involved in a future conflict in the Middle East. The prophet Ezekiel states that during a time of peace, the surrounding Arab nations will mount a surprise attack on the nation of Israel. The Russian army will move into the Middle East, at first to act as a protectorate to these Arab armies (Ezekiel 38:7). But the temptation will be too great. Russia will then move in an act of war against Israel, with the goal of taking a spoil for itself (Ezekiel 38:10-12). As you can see the Bible has accurately predicted not only the political and military alliances of dozens of countries several thousand years in advance, but also the wars they would wage, the reasons behind the wars and the outcome of them. I know of no other book that makes such predictions, let alone with such startling accuracy. But then why should we be surprised? The Bible is the written Word of an all-seeing and all-knowing God. It is the Word of a God Who is holy and just, Who is merciful and kind, Who desires to have a relationship with the people He has created. He loves us so much He came to earth to show us what He is like, and to provide a way whereby we could come into relationship with Him again. Do you know Him? His name is Jesus Christ. He died for you so your sins might be forgiven. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation today.
1st John 4:14