WASHINGTON - The Obama administration's special Mideast envoy, former Senator George Mitchell, has resigned after more than two largely fruitless years on the job.
US President Barack Obama officially confirmed Friday that Mitchel has resigned. The president said that Mitchell's deputy, David Hale, will replace him for the time being.
In his statement, Obama claimed that Mitchell said previously that he will only be serving in the post for two years and thanked him for his service. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also issued a statement expressing her gratitude to Mitchell.
Mitchell's resignation comes at a critical time for the Middle East, which is embroiled in turmoil, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has been moribund since last September and is now further complicated by an agreement between Palestinian factions to share power. Obama is expected to deliver a speech next week about his administration's views of developments in the region ahead of a visit to Washington by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Since his appointment on Obama's second full day in office in January 2009,Mitchell, 77, had spent much of his time shuttling between the Israelis, Palestinians and friendly Arab states in a bid to restart long-stalled peace talks that would create an independent Palestinian state. But in recent months, particularly after the upheaval in Arab countries that ousted longtime US ally and key peace partner Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt, his activity had slowed
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