News / Middle East

    Obama Middle East Envoy Resigns

    US Mideast envoy George Mitchell waves his hand to reporters while arriving at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 15, 2010.
    US Mideast envoy George Mitchell waves his hand to reporters while arriving at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 15, 2010.

    President Barack Obama has announced the resignation of his Middle East envoy, George Mitchell. This comes as Israel-Palestinian peace efforts remain at an apparent standstill, and a week before Israel's prime minister is scheduled to come to the White House.

    A former U.S. senator known among other things for his major role in helping negotiate the Northern Ireland peace accords, Mitchell was one of President Obama's first appointments in January of 2009.

    In his brief letter to the president, released by the White House, he noted that he had always intended to serve for two years, adding that he strongly supported President Obama's vision of comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

    In a written statement, President Obama praised Mitchell as a "tireless advocate for peace" and said 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."

    Mr. Obama said the U.S. remains committed to peace in the Middle East and to building on Mitchell's hard work and progress toward achieving that goal. The president said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Deputy Middle East Envoy, David Hale, to serve as Acting Envoy.

    The White House also released Secretary Clinton's statement, which praised Mitchell for taking on hard challenges and said the U.S. would "carry forward his commitment to pursue a comprehensive peace in the Middle East."

    After a high profile roll out of his Mideast peace drive last year, President Obama and Mitchell had been frustrated by a lack of progress.  Israelis and Palestinians briefly held direct negotiations, but the talks broke down over the issue of Israeli settlement construction in east Jerusalem.

    Mitchell's resignation comes a week before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Washington. He will meet with President Obama next Friday, and deliver an address to the U.S. Congress the following week.  

    Speculation continues about whether Mr. Netanyahu will use that speech to U.S. lawmakers to present any new significant proposals aimed at reviving the peace process with Palestinians.  

    Israeli and other media reports have said that has become even less likely in the wake of the reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

    President Obama is due to meet this coming Tuesday with another important player in Mideast peace efforts, Jordan's King Abdullah.

    On Thursday, President Obama is scheduled to deliver a major address about the Middle East and the wave of uprisings by protesters seeking political change and the harsh crackdowns in places like Syria and Yemen.

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Friday that Mr. Obama has "some important things to say" about upheaval in the region and the U.S. response.   

    Carney said Mr. Obama will call on governments to respond to people's demands through peaceful political dialogue, and note that Democratic movements are a repudiation of the philosophy of al-Qaida.

    Mr. Obama's speech will be delivered at the State Department, and will come on the eve of his talks the next day with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

    The White House is not talking about what President Obama may say in his speech about Israel-Palestinian peace efforts.

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.