US special envoy Mitchell to visit Israel, PA next week

US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell will visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority next week, the State Department said on Monday, in what will be his first visit to the area since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's new government was sworn in. Mitchell will leave the US on April 13 and see senior officials both in Israel and the Palestinian Authority as well as Egypt, the Gulf and North Africa, Reuters quoted State Department spokesman Robert Wood as saying. "Special Envoy Mitchell's aim for this trip is to discuss next steps in moving the parties toward a lasting peace that will benefit all the people of the region," Wood reportedly stated. According to the news agency, Wood went on to reiterate the Obama administration's commitment to "advance the goal" of a two-state solution in the Middle East.