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U.S. Envoy George Mitchell Travels To Middle East

U.S. special envoy George Mitchell (left) with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah in January
U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell travels to the region today to urge the Palestinians and Israelis to restart indirect talks.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon carried a similar message during a visit to the region on March 20 that included a visit to the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Ban told Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad that the Mideast Quartet "strongly supports" Palestinian efforts to establish their own state.

A day earlier, Ban, speaking for the Mideast Quartet meeting in Moscow, made a similar call on Israel to freeze new construction in East Jerusalem. He said the holy city should be the capital for both Israel and a future Palestinian state.

The Palestinian leadership has said Israel's plan to build new housing in the disputed area is an obstacle to resuming peace talks.