Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday kept up steady U.S. calls for a "durable and sustainable," but not necessarily immediate, cease-fire to end Israel's assault on Gaza and rocket attacks by Palestinian militants based there.
In phone calls with Israeli and Arab leaders, including Jordan's King Abdullah II, as well as other interested regional and international officials, Rice pressed for durable solution to the fighting that is not used by the radical Hamas movement to launch more attacks into Israel, the State Department said.
"She is working extremely hard to try and get both sides to agree that a cease-fire can be re-established and that that cease-fire can be fully respected," spokesman Gordon Duguid told reporters.
Others have called for an "immediate" halt to the violence, but Duguid refused to use that term, calling instead for a "durable and sustainable" cease-fire that produces "lasting peace."
"The cease-fire, in order to be productive, has to be maintained," he said. "It can't be a cease-fire in which one side uses it to launch periodic attacks."
Rice called King Abdullah on Tuesday. On Monday, she spoke Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as well as the foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In the past 24 hours, Rice has also been in touch with her British counterpart, David Miliband, and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana twice each, along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Meanwhile, the State Department announced a new contribution of $85 million to U.N. relief efforts to assist Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and urged "all concerned" to allow aid workers to distribute supplies.
"We call on all concerned to protect innocent lives and to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza, by facilitating necessary access into Gaza for (the U.N.) and other humanitarian organizations," it said in a statement.