Peres lauds "extraordinary commitment" of George Mitchell

Arab World Materials 14 May 2011 12:34 (UTC +04:00)

Israeli President Shimon Peres praised Saturday the "extraordinary commitment" to seek peace in the Middle East by US envoy George Mitchell, who stepped down Friday.

"He is by any measure one of the finest public servants that our nation has ever had," Peres said, DPA reported.

"His deep commitment to resolving conflict and advancing democracy has contributed immeasurably to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security," the Israeli President added.

Peres also welcomed David Hale as the new US Mideast envoy, expressing "confidence" in his ability to continue to make progress in the region.

Mitchell, 77, had led President Barack Obama's diplomatic efforts to boost peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinian representatives for more than two years.

However, his work had little success, with talks he helped set up breaking down last year when Palestinian officials refused to participate so long as Israel refused to block construction on occupied territories.

In his resignation note published Friday by the White House, Mitchell wrote that "my intention was to serve for two years. More than two years having passed, I hereby resign."

The White House declined to comment upon what impact, if any, Mitchell's resignation would have, coming a week before the president is expected to give a major speech on the Middle East and just before visits by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah.