U.S. envoy to hold indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks

U.S. envoy to hold indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks
# 19 May 2010 04:56 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. U.S. special envoy George Mitchell has arrived at the Middle East for another round of indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.
In the indirect negotiations, dubbed the "proximity talks," Mitchell will convey letters between PNA leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a bid to start the direct talks. The negotiations officially began on May 9, but the U.S. envoy has so far discussed only issues of organizing the negotiation process.
The talks are expected to focus on such key issues as control of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, borders and Israel’s West Bank settlements.
"The final status issues will be discussed but at this stage we will focus on the problems of borders and security," Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told journalists ahead of Mitchell’s visit.
Mitchell is scheduled to meet with PNA leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday, and hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.
Israeli-Palestinian direct peace talks came to a halt in December 2008, when Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip in a bid to put an end to the firing of homemade rockets at southern Israel by Palestinian militants based in the enclave. The conflict left 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.
Palestinians have so far cited ongoing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, as a main obstacle to the peace process.
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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED