Mitchell to push Arabs, Israel for two-state solution

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RABAT: US special envoy George Mitchell said Tuesday he would press Israel and Arab nations to back a two-state option as the only solution to the Middle East conflict, in the first stop of a regional tour.

In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we believe that the two-state solution, two states living side by side in peace, is the best and the only way to resolve this conflict, Mitchell said after talks with Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi-Fihri in Rabat.

He said he would push that objective during his two-week visit to the region, which includes meetings with officials from Israel, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, the Gulf states as well as north Africa.

Mitchell s visit to the region is his first since Israel s right-leaning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office. The US senator is President Barack Obama s special envoy for Middle East peace.

He flew on from Morocco to Algeria, where he had talks with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, after being met at the airport by Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci. On Tuesday he traveled to Tunisia.

He was scheduled to leave to Israel on Wednesday to meet the new Israeli government on Thursday, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.

He will travel to the Palestinian West Bank capital of Ramallah for a day of meetings with Palestinian leaders on Friday, Wood added.

He will leave the same day for Egypt to consult with leaders there, according to the spokesman. -AFP

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