Mitchell renews peace push

US envoy meets Israeli officials in fresh attempt to kickstart stalled negotiations.

    Mitchell  is in the region for preparatory talks ahead of a visit by Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state [EPA]

    "Her visit reflects the administration's commitment - and her personal commitment - to work through the challenges we face in pursuit of comprehensive Middle East peace."

    Stalled talks

    Mitchell met Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, after his arrival on Thursday before holding talks with Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, on Friday.

    It was not immediately clear when he would meet Palestinian leaders.

    Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were broken off late last year after Ehud Olmert, Netanyahu's predecessor, resigned amid corruption allegations, sending Israel into early elections that saw Netanyahu return to power after 10 years.

    The Palestinians have insisted on a complete freeze of Israeli construction in the occupied West Bank before the peace process can resume.

    But Israel has not shown any signs of willingness to halt construction and Mitchell's latest visit to the region is a fresh attempt to revive the talks.

    Obama announced in September that the three parties would begin intense contacts in a bid to revive the talks later this autumn, possibly by late October.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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