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No progress reported in Mitchell meetings

JERUSALEM (JTA) — No progress was reported following a second round of meetings between the U.S. Middle East envoy and the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

George Mitchell extended his visit in order to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas again separately on Sunday. He had met Thursday with Netanyahu and the next day with Abbas.

Netanyahu and Mitchell met Sunday morning for three hours.

"Today I heard some interesting ideas for renewing the [peace] process," Netanyahu said at the beginning of Sunday’s regular Cabinet meeting. "I also expressed my hope that these new ideas will allow for the renewal of the process. Certainly if the Palestinians express a similar readiness, then we will find ourselves in a diplomatic process."

Abbas reportedly told Mitchell that the Palestinians were willing to go back to peace negotiations if there is a complete cessation of Israeli building in the West Bank and no preconditions.

Mitchell left Israel for Jordan on Sunday afternoon. He also will visit Egypt this week in an attempt to advance the peace process.
 

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