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Israeli, Palestinians Said To 'Make Progress' On Settlements

U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell addresses a news conference after meetings in Sharm el-Sheikh on September 14.
A U.S. envoy to the Middle East says Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas are making progress on resolving the dispute over Jewish settlements.

"We continue to, in our efforts, to make progress in that regard and believe that we are doing so," envoy George Mitchell said after talks in Jerusalem that followed meetings the previous day in Egypt.

Mitchell also said Netanyahu and Abbas have agreed that negotiators from both sides will meet again next week for further talks.

Earlier in the day, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Israeli and Palestinian leaders had begun to grapple with key issues at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu and Abbas began their latest round of talks on September 14 in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Egyptian resort town, but no progress was reported on resolving a dispute over Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinians have threatened to walk out of the talks unless there is a halt to settlement building.

Israel has said it will not extend a freeze on construction which expires at the end of this month, but that it could limit the scope of building.

AP reported that Clinton planned to see Abbas today and then head to Amman for a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II.

compiled from agency reports