A Palestinian official says U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell has
failed to secure a deal on Jewish settlements that is seen as key to
advancing the Middle East peace process.
Saeb Erekat says Mitchell reached no agreement in talks with Israeli
officials on a settlement construction freeze.
Erekat reiterated the Palestinian position that there is no middle ground solution on the settlement issue.
spoke after Mitchell met Friday with Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas in the West Bank. Mitchell later held talks with Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem for the second time on Friday.
The U.S. envoy has been in the region for nearly a week trying
to broker a compromise on the settlement issue that would lead to a
meeting with Palestinian and Israeli leaders during the U.N. General
Assembly next week in New York.
have said they will participate in the meeting only if Israel stops
building settlements on land Palestinians want for a state. Washington
supports a construction freeze in the occupied West Bank and East
But Israeli officials have said they are prepared to
reduce construction on West Bank settlements only for a limited
period. They say East Jerusalem is not a settlement and building there
The Israelis also say settlement construction is necessary for population growth.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.