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Saud, Mitchell discuss Mideast peace process
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 01 - 02 - 2009

Faisal, Foreign Minister, and George Mitchell, US Mideast envoy, on Saturday discussed “the importance of moving the peace process forward” to achieve an independent, contiguous and viable Palestinian state.
Mitchell flew in to the Saudi capital late Saturday on the final leg of a regional tour aimed at reviving peace efforts.
Mitchell was also expected to meet King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and a key force behind the Arab peace initiative to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
The US envoy has also visited Egypt, Jordan and Israel and held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The 75-year-old former senator who helped broker peace in Northern Ireland in 1998 was appointed Mideast envoy just two days after Barack Obama was sworn in president on Jan. 20.
Earlier in the day, Jordan's King Abdullah II met Mitchell in Amman and urged Washington to resume its efforts to clinch a two-state settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Mitchell has been touring the region for talks on consolidating the Jan. 18 ceasefire which ended the devastating 22-day Gaza war between Israel and Hamas.
Solana praises King's efforts
King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, during his speech at the recent Arab League summit in Kuwait, has truly highlighted the gravity of the situation in the Mideast, Javier Solana, European Union's Higher Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, said in Bonn, Saturday.
King Abdullah was sincere in his approach, he said.
Solana sounded optimistic about the Arab initiative, noting that it is an Arab option to achieve a comprehensive and just peace in the region.
Solana said European initiatives and the ones of the International Quartet and the Road Map are merely steps toward the Arab initiative on the condition that Palestinian people cooperate and form their national government in the future.
He said the EU is seeking the achievement of the two-state option within its support to the Arab initiative.
Solana did not rule out an International Quartet meeting soon after Mitchell completes his current tour of the region.
The EU is scheduled to convene a meeting on Monday with US officials to discuss the future of peace process in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, deans and professors of Islamic universities, who participated in the recent international conference for Fatwa and its rules in Makkah, expressed their appreciation for King Abdullah's initiatives.
They stressed that these initiatives are based on an overall Islamic perspective, noting that these have retained the Ummah's unification endeavors.

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