JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel says its defense minister is to meet with the U.S. Middle East envoy to discuss indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations that are expected to start soon.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement that Ehud Barak was meeting with U.S. envoy George Mitchell on Saturday evening.
Mitchell also is expected to meet with other Israeli and Palestinian leaders over the next few days to try and lay the groundwork for negotiations before U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives in the region next week.
Biden is expected to announce during his visit that Israelis and Palestinians are resuming talks.
The U.S. has been struggling to coax both sides back to negotiations which collapsed in late 2008 after Israel’s offensive against militants in Gaza.