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US envoy set for talks in Cairo

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US envoy set for talks in Cairo

The US Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, is due to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss the stalled Middle East peace process.

He arrived in Cairo a day early at Mr Mubarak’s request, following talks in Syria and Israel. In Tel Aviv, Mr Mitchell reassured Israeli officials of Washington’s unshakeable commitment to its security. Relations had soured after US President Barack Obama demanded a halt to all Israeli settlement on Palestinian land.

In Damascus, Mr Mitchell met Syrian President Bashar Assad for what he called “very candid and positive” discussions on restarting peace talks between Syria and Israel, which have been stalled since 2000. Following talks with the Egyptian president, Mr Mitchell is due to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Monday and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

Diplomatic push

The visits are part of a week-long high-level diplomatic push by Washington to re-start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians which have been frozen for six months.

Palestinian leaders have refused to meet their Israeli counterparts until illegal settlement activity has stopped. Other senior US officials are also due to visit the region this week.

US defence secretary Robert Gates, National Security Advisor James Jones and US envoy to the Gulf states, Dennis Ross, are due in the region for talks. Mr Gates will first meet his Israeli counterpart in Jerusalem before travelling to Jordan for discussions with King Abdullah.

Iran and its nuclear programme are expected to be on the agenda in talks with Israel.

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Netanyahu says Israel-U.S. ties still steadfast

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Netanyahu says Israel-U.S. ties still steadfast

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu played down sharp differences with the United States over Jewish settlements on Sunday before the arrival of two senior U.S. officials.

“It is only natural, that within a fabric of friendly relations between allies, there isn’t full agreement on all points,” Netanyahu said.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s Middle East envoy, former senator George Mitchell, will try in talks with Israeli leaders to end the most serious rift between Israel and its main ally in a decade. Mitchell was due to meet Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak later in the day, see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday and hold discussions with Netanyahu on Tuesday.

U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates also plans talks in Israel. He was due to meet Netanyahu and Barak on Monday to discuss missile defence, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and bilateral security issues, a senior U.S. defence official said.

“This relationship is important and steadfast,” Netanyahu, who has refused to meet Obama’s demand to freeze settlements in the occupied West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, told his cabinet about U.S.-Israeli ties.

“We are trying to reach understandings on various issues so that we can, together, advance our common goals: peace, security and prosperity for all of the Middle East.”

Mitchell and Barak have attempted in a series of meetings over the past several weeks in New York and London to forge a compromise on settlement expansion, an issue at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

PEACE TALKS

Palestinian leaders have said peace talks with Israel, frozen for the past six months, cannot resume unless all settlement activity ceases. Barak has raised the possibility of halting construction in settlements while allowing building projects already under way to continue, as part of a deal under which Arab countries would take initial steps to normalise relations with Israel.

Netanyahu has pledged not to build new settlements or expropriate additional territory in the West Bank, where Palestinians hope to build a state. But he has said construction in settlements to accommodate the “natural growth” of their populations must continue. Palestinians say they fear settlements, deemed illegal by the World Court, could deny them a viable and contiguous state.

In another sign of tensions between Netanyahu’s right-leaning government and the Obama administration, the Israeli leader has also rejected U.S. pressure to halt the planned construction of 20 new homes for Jews in East Jerusalem.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, where 200,000 Israelis and 270,000 Palestinians now live, in a 1967 war and annexed it in a move that has not won international recognition. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestine.

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Abbas reiterated that do not participate in the Palestinian elections be held early next year

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November 5, the Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the statement read. The same day, Abbas reiterated here, he will not participate in scheduled January elections.

Abbas reiterated that do not participate in the Palestinian elections be held early next year

November 5, the Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the statement read. The same day, Abbas reiterated here, he will not participate in scheduled January elections. Xinhua News Agency reporters Hua Chun and Yu She

Xinhua Ramallah, November 5 (Xinhua Yue Zhao Yang Yuanyuan) Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, the Presidential Palace the evening of 5 a televised speech, reiterated that he will not be held early next year to participate in the Palestinian National Authority Chairman, and the Palestinian legislative elections, and stressed that next year’s January 24 election date will not change.

In his speech, Abbas said: “I want to tell the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the National Liberation Movement (Fatah) Central Committee, I have no intention to participate in next year’s Palestinian elections.” He said: “The current stalemate prompted me to to say a few simple to understand the words: peace above all party interests, higher than any government coalition. ”

Abbas is still hopeful for peace in the Middle East, he said: “Despite the crisis intensified, but the realization of peaceful co-existence between Palestinians and Israel still possible.” He also admitted that “two-state solution face enormous challenges, we do not know where it will go.”

In his speech, Abbas reiterated that should be in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions, the road map and the Arab initiative to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said the current Israeli Government has ignored the requirements of peace, and constantly in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the expansion of Jewish settlements, which is the main reason for causing the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks deadlocked.

After the speech, Abbas, the Fatah Central Committee immediately issued a statement reiterating Fatah, Abbas is the only candidate in next year’s general election.

74-year-old Abbas was elected in January 2005 the Palestinian National Authority President, he is still the PLO Executive Committee President and Fatah leader.

Abbas, on the evening of October 23 issued a decree, to Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinians in the January 24, 2010 at the Palestinian National Authority President and the Palestinian legislative elections.

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