Mitchell: U.S. Remains Committed to Pursue Substantive Mideast Talks

U.S. envoy says Washington will continue working toward a two-state solution and Middle East peace.

U.S. envoy George Mitchell said Wednesday his country remained committed to the two-state solution and Mideast peace, as he continued his regional tour aiming to revive peace negotiations.

Mitchell said he will work to pursue "substantive" talks with the Israelis and Palestinians to rescue the battered negotiations.

"In the days ahead our discussions with both sides will be substantive, two way conversations with an eye towards making real progress in the next few months on the key questions of an eventual framework agreement," French news agency AFP quoted Mitchell as telling reporters in Cairo after his talks with President Hosni Mubarak.

A framework agreement addressing all final status issues would "pave the way towards a final peace agreement, and this remains our goal," Mitchell said after his talks with Mubarak.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. envoy George Mitchell, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

"Egypt supports the peace process and the application of the two-state solution," Mitchell told the press.

Mitchell arrived in Cairo on Tuesday night after holding separate meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the West Bank and Jerusalem, respectively.

Mubarak also held talks with Abbas on Wednesday, ahead of the latter's meeting with the Arab League follow-up committee.

The Palestinians are adamant that negotiations with Israel will not resume until settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem stops.

"Any negotiations or talks require an end to settlement activities," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Tuesday, after Abbas and Mitchell held talks in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians began in early September but fell apart within a month, after Israel refused to renew a 10-month partial moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank.

The U.S. has recently abandoned its efforts to secure a 90-day settlement freeze from Israel, a move which angered Palestinians.

The U.S. says it remains committed to a two-state solution, and will work to "close the gaps" between the two sides so that direct talks can be relaunched and a framework agreement on core issues is reached.