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The United States vowed yesterday to move forward with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, despite the failure of a proposal that would have had Israel freeze settlement construction in the West Bank for 90 days.

George Mitchell, the special U.S. envoy for the Middle East, will visit the region next week for separate talks with each side, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said yesterday.

A top Palestinian official yesterday questioned Washington's ability to forge Middle East peace following this latest breakdown in American attempts to revive negotiations.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, an aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinians are assessing their options before responding to the announcement. While accusing the Israelis of being intransigent, he also voiced disappointment with the Americans.

"We will assess if the U.S. would be able ... to achieve success in its upcoming efforts," Abed Rabbo told the Voice of Palestine radio station. "The one who couldn't make Israel limit its settlement activities in order to conduct serious negotiations, how can he be able to make Israel accept a fair solution?"