WASHINGTON - Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel who heads foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution think tank, is expected to be named the new US envoy for Middle East peace, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the announcement could come as early as on Monday, when Israeli and Palestinian negotiators plan to resume direct peace talks in Washington for the first time in nearly three years.
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Indyk, 62, served as a senior member of Secretary of State Warren Christopher's Middle East peace team in the 1990s.
He may join Secretary of State John Kerry at a State Department dinner for Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Monday evening.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have two scheduled meetings in Washington this week which will establish the outline of negotiations before the parties start discussing the issues. The talks are set to run for nine months and after the official opening sessions in Washington will move to the Middle East.
Monday and Tuesday's talks will be closed to the media. The Americans are hoping to avoid leaks which could lead to pressure on the parties and in turn sabotage the negotiations.
Indyk, a UK-born Jew, has addressed the stalemate in the Mideast peace process in various opinion pieces he has written over the past few years.
In a Ynet interview held a year and a half ago, he defended the Oslo Accords saying it served Israel's interests as much as it did the Palestinians', and perhaps even more.
According to Indyk, the agreement lifted responsibility for Palestinians in the West Bank from Israel's shoulders and placed them on the international community and Palestinian Authority.
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