LOS ANGELES – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (search) said Israel's plans to expand a West Bank settlement was "at odds with American policy" and could threaten peace with the Palestinians, marking her sharpest attack of Israel since taking office, it was reported Friday.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Rice said the Israeli plan to add 3,500 housing units to the Maale Adumim (search) settlement east of Jerusalem were "not really a satisfactory response."
Rice said the U.S. expressed its concerns this week with the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who the administration has staunchly supported since President Bush took office.
The Israeli Defense Ministry this week confirmed plans for additional housing units in the settlement, where about 30,000 Jewish settlers live. The expansion, however, would not begin for years.
In another matter, Rice said the Bush administration is pushing to end the right of countries without nuclear arms to enrich uranium, the Times said.
In the Times interview, Rice said the U.S. wants countries, including Iran, to give up their rights under the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (search) to enrich or reprocess uranium for peaceful purposes, saying such activity could camouflage development of a weapons program.
"It is a loophole that countries have used, including, for instance, the North Koreans to gain access to civilian nuclear power but to continue activities that were closed and unclear," Rice said.
Despite U.S. demands, Tehran has not taken "clear steps" to end suspicions that it was seeking to develop nuclear weapons, she added.
Rice said the administration wants Tehran to purchase fuel for a future nuclear power program from counties that already have nuclear weapons.