U.S. Mideast envoy Mitchell arrives in Ramallah for talks with Abbas

The Hindu

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell arrived in Ramallah in the West Bank on Saturday for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian officials said they expect Mr. Mitchell to ask Mr. Abbas to move from the current indirect talks with Israel to direct negotiations.

However, Mr. Abbas and other Palestinian officials have said the resumption of direct talks, suspended since December 2008, will not start without progress in the indirect talks spearheaded by Mr. Mitchell on borders and security issues.

Mr. Abbas expects Mr. Mitchell to explain to him what progress, if any, has been made in the indirect or proximity talks before embarking on direct negotiations, according to Palestinian officials.

Mr. Mitchell met Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday and is also expected to meet European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who arrives in the region on Saturday for meetings with Palestinian and Israeli officials.

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