PARIS (AFP) – President Barack Obama’s Mideast envoy reaffirmed on Sunday the United States’ support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hours ahead of a key Israeli policy speech.
“The US seeks comprehensive peace in the Middle East,” George Mitchell told a joint press conference in Paris with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, after completing a peace mission to the Middle East.
“That means two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, as well as peace between Syria and Israel, and peace between Lebanon and Israel,” he said.
“It also means a full normalization between Israel and its neighbors.”
Mitchell was speaking hours before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to unveil his Middle East peace policy, but observers did not expect the hawkish premier to bow to US pressure and back a Palestinian state.
The US envoy called for “good faith efforts by all concerned to create conditions for the prompt resumption and early conclusion of negotiations,” between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Our objective is to resume productive negotiations as soon as possible. The US is fully committed to this goal. We must miss no opportunity,” he stressed.
Mitchell’s latest Middle East tour included stops in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, Egypt and Jordan to underscore Obama’s commitment to advance peace in the region.
Kouchner said that the United States and France shared a “common view” on working for peace in the Middle East, recalling that Netanyahu is in principle due to travel to France on June 24.