Mitchell, Israeli officials have 'good meeting'

Molcho, Herzog meet US Mideast envoy in NY; more talks planned when Mitchell returns to ME next week.

netanyahu and mitchell 248.88 (photo credit: )
netanyahu and mitchell 248.88
(photo credit: )
George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy, said he had a "good meeting" with two Israeli officials in New York on Wednesday and would continue discussions next week when he returns to the Middle East. "Senator Mitchell and the Israeli delegation reaffirmed their commitment to comprehensive peace, and concrete steps by all parties toward that goal," Reuters quoted US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly as saying. "We look forward to continuing the discussion when Senator Mitchell returns to the region late next week," he added. Kelly gave no indication of specific progress. Lawyer Yitzhak Molcho and Mike Herzog's meeting with Mitchell was a follow up to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's talks with the US envoy in London last week. Molcho has unofficially been appointed Netanyahu's envoy on the Palestinian issue. Herzog is Defense Minister Ehud Barak's chief of staff and one of his closest advisers. On Monday, President Shimon Peres said Israeli diplomatic officials were gearing up for a month of intensive diplomatic activity expected to culminate in a tripartite US, Israeli, Palestinian summit in New York before Yom Kippur. Even though Nabil Shaath, a top aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said Monday that Abbas would not meet with Netanyahu until there was a full settlement freeze, Peres said in an interview with Fox News that Obama would likely mediate a meeting between the two by the end of the month. Herb Keinon and Yaakov Katz contributed to this report