Agence France Presse (AFP)
February 5, 2009 - 1:00am

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell will meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on February 26 on his second visit to the region in a month, a Palestinian official said Wednesday. "Mitchell will meet president Abbas in Ramallah on February 26," said the official, who asked not to be named.

He had initially said the meeting would take place on February 22.

"This second visit since his appointment in January confirms the real interest the administration of President Barack Obama has in a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Mitchell's visit will come 12 days after Israelis vote in an election expected to return to power right-wing former premier Benjamin Netanyahu.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that Mitchell would return to the Middle East this month.

On a visit last month, Mitchell called for consolidation of a January 18 ceasefire that ended the devastating Gaza war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

He has been instructed to "vigorously" resuscitate Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.


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