The United States has begun discussing the structure and scope of indirect talks between Israel and Palestine, according to George Mitchell, U.S. special envoy to the Middle East.

“I'm pleased that the Israeli and Palestinian leadership have accepted indirect talks,” Mr. Mitchell said, adding that he would return to the region next week to continue their discussions.

Mr. Mitchell — who has been engaged in efforts to broker a resumption of peace talks for a year — is holding meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

The talks will see him shuttle between Israel and the Palestine over the coming weeks.

Underscoring the U.S.'s hope that the dialogue would lead to direct negotiations as soon as possible, Mr. Mitchell said: “We also again encourage the parties, and all concerned, to refrain from any statements or actions which may inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks.”

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