U.S. Envoy Meets with Middle East Leaders

Friday, April 23, 2010

George Mitchell, the United State's special envoy to the Middle East, is meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders today in the hopes of restarting peace talks after more than a year of stalled efforts to renew direct talks between the two.

Mitchell's trip, originally scheduled for last month, was postponed following Israel's announcement that it would build 1,600 new units of housing in East Jerusalem. The construction is expected to be a major topic during today's talks.

According to The Associated Press, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected U.S. calls to stop construction in the area, and Palestinian leaders have refused to resume talks until the construction is halted.

Mitchell was scheduled to meet with Israeli leaders, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres this morning, and Palestinian leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas, later in the day.

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