Cheney visiting Mideast this week

Vice President Dick Cheney will visit the Middle East this week to promote the peace process.

He will travel to the region starting March 16, visiting Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the West Bank and Turkey “for discussions with these key partners on issues of mutual interest,” according to a release from his office.

President Bush said Cheney would press Israel and the Palestinian Authority forward on the renewed peace talks and would advocate a united front on Iran.

Bush’s spokeswoman, Dana Perino, said the meetings would address the recent intensification of Palestinian attacks, including rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and a terrorist attack on a Jerusalem yeshiva last week, as well as Israel’s failure to freeze settlements. — jta