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U.S. Envoy Mitchell To Meet With Israeli, Palestinian Leaders

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell
U.S. envoy George Mitchell is expected to meet with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a bid to help the two sides relaunch peace negotiations.

Mitchell, who arrived in the region on March 6, is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas on March 8.

Officials said Mitchell met on March 6 with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to arrive in the region this week to add momentum to moves to revive talks. Reports say discussions are expected to focus on the prospect of starting indirect "proximity" talks between the Israelis and Palestinians as a prelude to the possible resumption of direct negotiations.

Talks between the Israelis and Palestinians have been frozen since negotiations collapsed in late 2008 after Israel's offensive against militants in the Gaza Strip.

compiled from agency reports