US envoy Mitchell to visit Middle East: Israeli official

January 25th, 2009 - 5:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaTel Aviv, Jan 25 (DPA) George Mitchell, the former US senator who has been named a special envoy to the Middle East, is scheduled to visit Israel and Palestinian-controlled territories in the coming days, an Israeli government spokesman said Sunday.No programme for Mitchell’s visit has been set, said Jigal Palmor.

Mitchell, who was tapped for the position by new US President Barack Obama, is expected to seek to restart negotiations on Middle East peace, as well as to gather information on the status of the Gaza Strip.

Mitchell served as special envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process during the 1990s, under the Clinton administration. He has also worked on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the past.

Separately, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who is leading her Kadima party in elections set for Feb 10, warned Sunday that giving power to a right-wing coalition not committed to a two-state solution in the region could lead to tensions between the United States and Israel.

The right-wing Likud party dismissed her comments, saying Livni simply fears losing in the elections. Likud is narrowly favoured to win the elections.

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