[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/21/art.mitchell.gi.jpg caption="Sources say Mitchell has been tapped as Mideast envoy."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration has asked former Sen. George Mitchell to be a special envoy to the Middle East, sources close to the administration and diplomats told CNN.
In the final days of the transition, officials talked to Israeli, Palestinian and Arab diplomats about the choice, the sources said.
Mitchell served as a Mideast envoy for the Bush administration, authoring a 2001 report that called for a halt to Israeli settlements and greater Palestinian efforts to crack down on terror.
He also was a peace broker on Northern Ireland for President Bill Clinton.
If named to the post, Mitchell would be one of several envoys who would work in the new administration.
Sources say that Dennis Ross, a former Mideast peace envoy for several previous administrations, will be an envoy in charge of engaging Iran on a wide range of issues, including its nuclear program and its support for terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who negotiated peace in the Balkans, is expected to become an envoy dealing with Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.