ABU DHABI, (AFP) – US Middle East envoy George Mitchell held talks Monday with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan in efforts to engage Israel and the Palestinians in direct peace talks, WAM state news agency said.
Mitchell briefed Sheikh Mohammed on the “talks he held with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the Palestinian and Israeli sides,” over the past few days, WAM said.
They discussed “steps that should be taken to achieve a tangible progress in the Palestinian-Israeli talks, in a way that would guarantee establishing an independent and viable Palestinian state,” it added.
Mitchell helped start in May indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians and has been shuttling between both sides to try and clinch an agreement to a face-to-face meeting between them.
He held talks Sunday with Mubarak, during which they discussed ways to “prepare the necessary conditions for negotiations that achieve a two-state solution,” Egypt’s news agency MENA reported.
He also met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, a day after talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
The Palestinians have long demanded a complete freeze on Israeli settlement expansion ahead of direct talks and have accused Israel of undermining the process by approving new settler homes in annexed Arab east Jerusalem, which they want as the capital of their promised state