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Resume peace talks with Palestine: US to Israel

June 09, 2009 20:11 IST
United States envoy to the Middle East on Tuesday pressed Israel on "prompt resumption" of the stalled peace talks with Palestine, amid sharp differences between Washington and Tel Aviv over settlement activities in disputed areas.

George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama's special envoy, met the Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak in Tel Aviv and was scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

"We all share an obligation to create the conditions for the prompt resumption and early conclusion of negotiations," Mitchell said.

His visit comes ahead of an important political speech, hawkish Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to deliver at Bar-Ilan University on Sunday, where he will outline his policy towards Mideast peace process.

On the differences between the US and Israel over Jerusalem's continued settlement activities in the West Bank, the envoy said the policy gaps "are not disagreements among adversaries", the two countries "remain close allies and friends."

"We're working hard to achieve our objectives for comprehensive peace in the Middle East, including a Palestinian state side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel," Mitchell said alongside President Shimon Perez in Jerusalem.

Harinder Mishra in Jerusalem
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