U.S. commends Israeli, Palestinian efforts on Middle East talks

08:22, May 10, 2010      

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U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell waves to media upon his arrival to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 8, 2010. U.S. peace envoy Senator George Mitchell arrived in Ramallah on Saturday evening for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to receive the Palestinian response over starting the proximity talks with Israel. (Xinhua/Fadi Arouri)

U.S. State Department on Sunday commended the Israelis and Palestinians for their efforts to start the U.S.-brokered indirect talks on the Middle East peace.
The State Department said in statement that the U.S. Special Envoy George Mitchell had left the Middle East on Sunday after the first round of proximity talks ended, describing them as "serious and wide-ranging."

The department commended both parties for taking steps to help create a "conducive" atmosphere to start the talks.

According to the statement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he will prevent incitement from his side, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised there will be no construction at the Ramat Shlomo project for two years.

In March, Israel announced plans to build 1,600 houses in Ramat Shlomo, a disputed area in East Jerusalem, triggering angry response from the U.S. and the pulling-out by the Palestinian side from the indirect talks which were scheduled for that month.

The statement also warned both parties against taking significant actions that undermine trust, vowing to hold them accountable and ensure the talks will continue.

It said that Mitchell will return to the region next week to continue the proximity talks.

Chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat announced on Sunday that the U.S.-sponsored proximity talks between the Palestinians and Israel have started.



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