State Dept: First round of Mideast talks serious

WASHINGTON — The State Department said the first round of indirect peace talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities have been completed.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a statement Sunday that US special envoy George Mitchell has left the Middle East after concluding talks characterized as serious and wide-ranging.
Crowley says both sides have taken some steps to create an atmosphere conducive to successful talks, including an Israeli pledge of no construction in an east Jerusalem neighborhood for two years.