President Bush is dispatching Vice President Dick Cheney to the Middle East to help hold together fragile negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, the latest move in the administration's push for a peace deal before Bush leaves office.
Cheney departs Sunday for a trip to Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the West Bank and Turkey. Oil is also on his agenda, as the White House — coping with high energy prices that have socked American consumers — continues to push for greater oil production in the Mideast.
The White House announced the trip Monday. "This is the president continuing to show the commitment that he has to the region," said White House press secretary Dana Perino.
The vice president's visit comes on the heels of a brief troubleshooting mission to the Mideast by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She was able to pressure the moderate Palestinian leadership to resume peace talks with Israel, which broke off after a deadly Israeli military incursion into Gaza.