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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora