Mitchell on whirlwind trip for peace

Aug. 10, 2010 at 7:51 AM
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JERUSALEM, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell is in Israel to encourage Israeli and Palestinian leaders to engage in direct talks.

Mitchell arrived late Monday and is due to return to the United States Wednesday, Israeli media reports said.

He was scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and later travel to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Despite receiving a green light from the Arab League to embark on direct talks with Israel, Abbas has so far refused but Monday told reporters he is being pressured by the U.S. administration and other world leaders.

Palestinian factions in the West Bank reportedly called on Abbas not to enter direct talks unless certain conditions are met, The Jerusalem Post said.

Since May, Mitchell has conducted five rounds of indirect talks amid reports the Washington is pushing for direct talks to begin in September, media reports said.

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