Today, Special Envoy George Mitchell held a press conference on his on meetings with Israeli, Palestinian, and Egyptian Leaders during the second round of Middle East Peace Talks. The Special Envoy said:
"Today's meeting lasted about one hour and forty minutes. The meeting involved Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Abbas, Secretary of State Clinton, and myself. We all are grateful to President Mubarak, to Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, and to the Egyptian Government for their courtesy and hospitality in arranging these meetings and for their continued strong support for President Obama's vision of comprehensive peace in the Middle East. The day began with President Mubarak hosting separate bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Abbas, and Secretary Clinton. The Secretary also met bilaterally with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. This was followed by the multilateral meeting, which I've just described. And as soon as I complete this briefing, I will attend with the other leaders a lunch hosted by President Mubarak for all of the participants.
"Today, the parties have begun a serious discussion on core issues. President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu also reiterated their intent to approach these negotiations in good faith and with a seriousness of purpose. They repeated their condemnation of all forms of violence that target innocent civilians and pledged to work together to maintain security. All of us reaffirmed our commitment to reaching a shared goal of a just, lasting, and secure peace. Our common goal remains two states for two peoples. And we are committed to a solution to the conflict that resolves all issues for the state of Israel and a sovereign, independent, and viable state of Palestine living side by side in peace and security.
"President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu continued to agree that these negotiations, whose goal is to resolve all core issues, can be completed within one year. As I said recently in Washington, the parties have agreed to begin first on working to achieve a framework agreement for permanent status. That work is now well underway. The parties agree that for these negotiations to succeed, they must be kept strictly confidential and treated with the utmost of sensitivity. So as in the past, today and as we proceed in the future, what I and they are able to disclose to you about the details of the meetings is and will be very limited.
"They agreed that after the leaders meeting tomorrow in Jerusalem, their negotiators would meet again in the coming days to continue these negotiations and to lay the groundwork for the next round of talks at the leadership level. These face-to-face talks are critical for both sides to continue to build trust and confidence.
"As both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have said, the United States pledges its full support to the parties in these talks. We will be an active and sustained partner throughout. We will put our full weight behind these negotiations and will stand by the parties as they make the difficult decisions necessary to secure a better future for their citizens."