U.S. envoy to lead fourth round of Israeli-Palestinian talks soon

19:26, June 10, 2010      

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U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell will visit the region soon to lead a new round of indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a Palestinian newspaper reported Thursday.

The Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam daily quoted Ma'an Erekat, the Palestinian ambassador to Washington, as saying that Mitchell is visiting the region "within days."

Erekat said Mitchell informed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about his decision following a meeting between the pair in Washington.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) will continue the U.S.- sponsored proximity talks with Israel and "will let the Americans evaluate any kind of progress" before moving to the face-to-face negotiations, Erekat said.

The proximity talks kicked off in May and Mitchell shuttled between the PNA and Israel three times. The talks, supposed to handle security issues and the borders of the future Palestinian state, have not yet made progress.

The indirect negotiations are hoped to build confidence between the two sides in a way enabling them to resume direct negotiations.

According to Erekat, Abbas told Obama in a meeting in Washington Wednesday that the PNA is interested to "increase the level of political talks with Israel" but this depends on the level of progress that proximity talks can make.

Source: Xinhua


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