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US: Mitchell holds "positive" talks with Israeli officials

Sept. 3, 2009 11:56 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 4, 2009 12:39 P.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – The US Special Envoy seeking a renewal of Palestinian-Israeli political negotiations said he had a "good meeting" with two Israeli officials in New York on Wednesday night, Reuters reported.

Envoy George Mitchell, met Yitzhak Molcho and Mike Herzog to follow up on a meeting in London last week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on bringing about a freeze on Israel’s construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank. The meeting began at midnight at the headquarters of the US mission to the United Nations.

"Senator Mitchell and the Israeli delegation reaffirmed their commitment to comprehensive peace, and concrete steps by all parties toward that goal. We look forward to continuing the discussion when Senator Mitchell returns to the region late next week," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, as quoted by Reuters.

According to news reports US President Barack Obama hopes to announce a resumption of peace talks this month during the UN General Assembly meeting.

Because of Israel’s refusal to halt settlement construction, Palestinian officials have said that political talks are unlikely to resume.

Senior Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo told Ma’an on Monday that there is no discussion of any potential meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abed Rabbo, who is the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Secretary, told Ma’an that the Obama administration did not raise the possibility.
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