19 Sep 2009

No agreement from latest talks in Middle East

9:01 am on 19 September 2009

United States envoy George Mitchell has failed to reach agreement on a key issue in the Middle East peace process.

Palestinian negotiators say Israel is not prepared to freeze settlement construction in occupied areas.

Mr Mitchell met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in a fresh attempt at getting a deal on Jewish settlement activity. He also met Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The Palestinians say Mr Mitchell failed to persuade Israel to stop expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and they won't return to peace talks unless construction is halted.

The BBC reports the US has been hoping to relaunch talks between Israel and the Palestinians with a meeting at the United Nations general assembly in New York next week.