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US Mideast Envoy Pushes for More Talks

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U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is pushing for more talks after meeting separately with the Israeli prime minister and the Palestinian president.

Mitchell invited the two sides to send representatives to Washington in the very near future to continue discussions in an effort to revive the Mideast peace process.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his talks in Jerusalem Friday were "constructive."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Mitchell in the West Bank town of Ramallah. He was quoted as reiterating his demand for a full Israeli settlement freeze.

On Thursday, Mitchell held separate meetings with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Mitchell said the United States remains committed to peace in the Middle East, but Lieberman said any goal of a comprehensive peace plan was in his words an "illusion".

In an interview published Friday, Jordan's King Abdullah was also pessimistic. He told Israel's Haaretz newspaper that prospects for Middle East peace are in his words "sliding into darkness."

The Jordanian leader also called on Israel to stop settlement activity and described Jerusalem as a "tinderbox" in the Islamic world.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.