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Obama, Netanyahu, Abbas to hold joint meeting

US President Barack Obama will hold a trilateral meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders next week, said the White House yesterday.

Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement that Obama would host the trilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

The meeting follows Obama's separate meetings with each of the two leaders ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Gibbs added.

"These meetings will continue the efforts of President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Special Envoy George Mitchell to lay the groundwork for the relaunch of negotiations, and to create a positive context for those negotiations so that they can succeed," said the statement.

On the coming meetings, US Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell said that "it is another sign of the president's deep commitment to comprehensive peace that he wants to personally engage at this juncture" as the United States continues its efforts to "encourage all sides to take responsibility for peace and to create a positive context for the resumption of negotiations."

Israel and the Palestinians resumed peace talks after a break of more than six years at an international conference in Annapolis, the United States in November 2007, but the talks made little progress before being suspended amid the Gaza war in December 2008.

The suspension of the Israeli-Palestinian talks was attributed partly to Netanyahu's refusal to heed Washington's repeated demands that Israel halt all settlement activity on occupied Palestinian land.

Special Envoy Mitchell visited Jerusalem and Ramallah early this week, but no agreement was reached between the US, Israeli and Palestinian officials.


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