AP source: US special Mideast envoy to return to region in bid to break settlement deadlock

By Matthew Lee, AP
Monday, September 27, 2010

AP source: US Mideast envoy to return to region

WASHINGTON — A U.S. official says the Obama administration’s special Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell will return to the region this week to continue urgent efforts to break a deadlock in negotiations over Israeli settlements.

The official said Mitchell will leave on Tuesday for meetings with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators after Israel defied U.S. and international demands to extend a slowdown on settlement construction in the West Bank. The slowdown expired on Sunday and the Palestinians had been threatening to walk out of talks if it was not extended.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the negotiations but the State Department was expected to formally announce the trip later Monday.

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