Israel PM says decision on peace talks imminent
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he expects to know within days if long-stalled peace talks with the Palestinians will be renewed, AFP reported.
Speaking shortly after his second meeting in 48 hours with George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama's Mideast peace envoy, Netanyahu said that both Israel and the United States want an immediate resumption of talks.
"I only hope that the Palestinians also want an immediate start to the peace process," he told reporters at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. "We shall know in the next few days if the process is under way."
After his meeting with Netanyahu, Obama envoy Mitchell said in a statement that his talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders were "positive and productive" and that he would return to the region next week.
Mitchell has been busy for months with shuttle diplomacy aimed at convening indirect, US-mediated Israeli-Palestinian talks as a prelude to a resumption of direct negotiations, which collapsed in 2008.
"His meetings continued our efforts to improve the atmosphere and for proceeding with proximity talks," Sunday's statement said, referring to his latest round of talks.
Mitchell has invited Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to meet Obama in Washington next month to discuss those efforts, according to chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat.
There has so far been no announcement from Netanyahu's office on whether a similar invitation has been extended to the Israeli leader.
Washington has made no official statement on a forthcoming visit by either leader.