US special envoy to Mideast resigns
US: Former US Senator George Mitchell has announced his resignation
as the US special envoy to the Middle East at the time of uprisings in
the region. Mitchell’s resignation came on Friday after the
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks failed to get rekindled, and at a
critical time in the Middle East embroiled in the turmoil.US President
Barack Obama accepted the resignation and called Mitchell “a tireless
advocate for peace,” the Associated Press reported.
In a short letter to Obama, Mitchell said that he took the diplomatic
job intending to only serve two years.
“I strongly support your vision of comprehensive peace in the Middle
East and thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of your
administration,” Mitchell wrote. David Hale, Mitchell’s deputy, will
serve as acting envoy, the US president said in a statement.
Obama will deliver a speech next Thursday at the State Department
about his administration’s views of developments in the region, ahead of
a visit to Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Mitchell served in the Senate as a Democrat from Maine from 1980 to
1995, the final six years as majority leader.
In 2000-2001, he headed a fact-finding committee on Middle East
violence that called for commitments by Israel and the Palestinian
Authority to immediately and unconditionally end their fighting. The
panel urged a cooling-off period and other steps toward peace, but it
did not lead to lasting results.
Mitchell also led the 2007 investigation into the use of
performance-enhancing drugs in major league baseball.
Before that, he was chairman of The Walt Disney Co. from 2004-2006.