20 Sep 2009

More Mideast talks to be held in US

2:52 pm on 20 September 2009

The United States has announced that President Barack Obama will host a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.

The BBC reports the talks are aimed at laying the groundwork for relaunching peace negotiations between the two sides.

The White House says Mr Obama will first hold separate talks with each of them first. The three men, who will be in New York for the UN General Assembly, will then hold joint discussions.

The latest round of shuttle diplomacy by US envoy George Mitchell has ended without agreement.

Mr Mitchell held a series of meetings with Mr Netanyahu last week in a fresh attempt at getting a deal on Jewish settlement activity. He also went to the West Bank to talk to Mr Abbas.

The BBC reports Mr Abbas and the US administration have been demanding a complete freeze on Israeli construction activity.

Housing continues

Mr Netanyahu previously offered a temporary freeze for several months, but not in East Jerusalem or in cases where homes have already been approved.

He recently said there had been a slowdown in settlement construction, but that work would continue on 2,400 units currently being built.