Israeli media reports Tuesday said the United States hopes Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will adopt a more flexible approach in peace talks with the Palestinians.
Mitchell met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak over breakfast and later met with Israeli President Shimon Peres. Speaking to reporters, the U.S. envoy emphasized that Washington is committed to the security of Israel and achieving a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. This includes a "Palestinian state side by side in peace and security with the Jewish State of Israel," Mitchell said on Israel Radio.
Mitchell was to meet with Netanyahu and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman. On Wednesday, he will meet with opposition leader Tzipi Livni before traveling to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Shortly after his arrival Monday night, Mitchell issued an outright denial of a report in the Maariv newspaper, which quoted him saying that the days of Israel lying to the United States over the settlements issue are over.
Mitchell instructed the U.S. Embassy to circulate a statement, which was also to be read at a State Department briefing in Washington, denying quotes attributed to him, The Jerusalem Post said. Mitchell is planning to set up an office in Jerusalem but isn't expected to do so this trip, the Post said.
The Maariv newspaper quoted a report by the London newspaper Asharq al Awsat, which said Obama presented Netanyahu with a plan in which a peace agreement could be reached within two years, based on the two-state solution, during Netanyahu's visit to Washington and was awaiting a response.