RIYADH, April 20, 2009 – US special envoy George Mitchell flew in to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to discuss Middle East peace efforts with King Abdullah, US officials said.
Mitchell was scheduled to meet Abdullah, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and possibly other top officials, a US embassy spokesman said.
He arrived in Riyadh after stops in Israel, the Palestinian territories and Egypt, where he emphasized US support for a two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Riyadh has also strongly advocated a two-state solution with its 2002 Arab peace initiative, which offers Israel blanket Arab recognition in exchange for creating a Palestinian state based on an Israeli pullout from occupied land.
Prince Faisal and other senior Saudi diplomats have called on Washington to pressure Israel into negotiations for a final peace deal.
Spearheading US President Barack Obama’s efforts to revive peace talks, Mitchell said in Cairo on Saturday that Washington would exert “great energy” in pursuit of a two-state settlement.
“It has been the policy of the United States for many years that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies in a two-state solution,” he told reporters after meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Earlier in the week, Mitchell met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. But his message was met with scepticism by some in Netanyahu’s hawkish cabinet.
“In the present circumstances, one has to work not for two states for two people, but for two economies for two people,” Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said on Thursday.