US envoys head back to Middle East

September 13, 2011 17:10

WASHINGTON - Two senior US envoys will return to the Middle East this week in hopes of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and averting a Palestinian bid to seek UN recognition of their statehood, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

David Hale, the US Mideast peace envoy and Dennis Ross, a senior White House official, will head back for more talks one week after an initial set of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders appeared to make little headway.

The stepped-up US activity comes as President Barack Obama's administration scrambles to head off a Palestinian plan to seek full membership during the UN General Assembly session that begins on Sept. 19, despite US and Israeli objections.

US officials fear the Palestinian move could complicate flagging efforts to resume direct peace talks, which broke down last year with the expiration of a 10-month partial Israeli moratorium on Jewish settlement construction on land the Palestinians want for their state.

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