Tags: Mitchell | Mideast | envoy | breakthriough

U.S. Mideast Envoy Wants Breakthrough

Friday, 23 April 2010 09:57 AM EDT

JERUSALEM - Amid high hopes regarding the start of "proximity" Middle East peace negotiations, US envoy George Mitchell reaffirmed the unshakable bond between Washington and Jerusalem during a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday afternoon, saying the special ties would only get stronger.

Mitchell stressed that the Obama administration was working to advance mutual Israeli and US interests, which he said were led by a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians based on the two-state solution, Israel Radio reported.

At the conclusion of the talks at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, the two agreed to meet again on Sunday.

Mitchell and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, meanwhile, agreed to meet again in Washington next week after their hour-long talks at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on Friday morning.

Mitchell is hoping to announce the start of the indirect talks during his current three-day visit here.

The US envoy is also due to meet President Shimon Peres on Friday afternoon, before heading to Ramallah in the evening for talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Anticipation of a breakthrough was high on Thursday night, despite Netanyahu’s reiterated refusal to halt construction in Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem as the Palestinian Authority has been demanding.

Meanwhile, Barak’s office announced that the defense minister would fly to the US on Sunday for meetings with heads of the Obama administration.

The meetings are expected to focus on security issues, including attempts to resume peace talks, said a statement Friday.

As well as Mitchell, Barak is set to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Adviser James Jones, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and intelligence chiefs.

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Friday, 23 April 2010 09:57 AM
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