Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Special Envoy George Mitchell in a trilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Secretary’s Office on Thursday. (PHOTO CREDIT: State Department Official Photograph)
Washington (CNN) - President Obama's Middle East peace initiative this week has led to promises of a second round of negotiations on September 14-15, but CNN has learned that Israeli and Palestinian officials are also privately discussing the possibility of a third round of talks as early as later this month.
Two senior officials close to the talks said Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are already discussing a possible third round of talks because both sides are concerned about the impact of Israel's 10-month moratorium on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank that expires on September 26th.
The goal is to pick up some momentum coming out of the September 14-15 talks, which Obama's Special Middle East Envoy George Mitchell announced Thursday in Washington after the first direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials in nearly two years.
Washington (CNN) - The United States is urging diplomacy by the Mideast Quartet to help push a speedy resumption of direct peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, a State Department spokesman said Tuesday.
"We are consulting with the Quartet and looking to see how we can encourage the parties to begin direct negotiations," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.
His comments come as Special U.S. Envoy George Mitchell held what Crowley called a "serious and positive" meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Tuesday in an effort to persuade Abbas to launch direct talks. Mitchell is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
The parties are taking part in "proximity talks," in which Mitchell has been shuttling between the sides with little substantial progress.