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Clinton to Meet Israeli FM in Washington

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Washington Wednesday to discuss how to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Lieberman, considered a hard-liner in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right wing government, is also scheduled to hold talks with U.S. lawmakers and National Security Adviser Jim Jones during his visit.

His meetings with the U.S. officials will likely focus on the conditions Prime Minister Netanyahu has set for peace.

Mr. Netanyahu has said he would endorse the creation of a Palestinian state but only if it is demilitarized and recognizes Israel as a Jewish state. He has also refused a U.S. demand to stop settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Mr. Netanyahu's conditions for Palestinian statehood can be discussed in negotiations, but has shown no softening in his stance on settlements.

Palestinian leaders say the Israeli leader's position stands in the way of any prospect for peace.

Despite the continued divisions, on Tuesday, George Mitchell, the U.S. special envoy for Middle East peace, said the two sides may agree to new peace talks within weeks.

Mitchell said prospects for peace have improved in part because Mr. Obama and Secretary Clinton's efforts have made a dramatic difference in attitudes in the Middle East.

Mitchell spoke after his fourth trip to the region. He has been pressing Israel to halt settlement construction in the West Bank, and the Palestinians to take responsibility for security and stopping anti-Israel incitement.