George Mitchell, still focused on Mideast peace efforts
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Report: Source says US holding off on Mideast peace talks
American officials tell al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper Washington not interested in pushing Israelis, Palestinians into direct talks, but would rather wait until both sides ready for fear of causing talks to fail

American officials told London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper that Washington is not interested in pressuring the Israelis and Palestinians into commencing peace negotiations before both parties are ready to do so.


The source said the US administration would rather wait than rush things and have negotiations fail.


The paper quoted the official US source as saying, "We don't want to push in the direction of peace talks before both parties are ready to do so."


The source reportedly said that the US administration does not want to go back on its policy of ruling out "talks for the purpose of talks alone", and Washington would therefore rather hold off in the meantime, and not push the parties into direct talks.


"We are still committed to peace in the Middle East," the paper quoted the source as saying, "and Mideast envoy George Mitchell's efforts are still focused on attempts to reach the most suitable conditions for talks."


Another source said, "We are still focused on attempts to jumpstart direct Palestinian-Israeli talks, but the level of the talks remains uncertain."


Last week, Palestinian Authority sources expressed disappointment with Israel's alleged decision to focus its efforts on the Israeli-Syrian channel and abandon the possibility of peace talks with the PA.


A Palestinian Authority source told Ynet that they had received guarantees from two Arab states, along with information from European sources, that Israel had reached understandings with the Americans according to which efforts will be focused on reviving the Israeli-Syrian track in the near future.


The source said it was unlikely that is another Israeli attempt to maneuver between the two channels, but more likely a strategic decision to focus its efforts on the Syrian track.


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