Secretary of State James A. Baker III on Friday blamed Israel for his lack of headway in setting up a Middle East peace conference.

Cutting short his talks in Jerusalem after learning of the death of his mother, Baker said through his spokeswoman:"Questions remain here in Israel. We still need some answers from the Israeli government . . . before we can move this process forward."

The spokeswoman, Margaret D. Tutwiler, said Baker would meet with President Bush after attending his mother's funeral "to determine appropriate next steps in the search for Middle East peace."

The statement said Israel had failed to answer questions about the framework for the negotiations that would be held by Israel with Arab nations and with Palestinians.

The Arabs, with support from Baker, have tried to carve out a role for the United Nations in the negotiations. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and others in the Jerusalem government are dubious about involving outsiders.