Barack Obama

Mideast talks to resume in Egyptian Red Sea resort

CAIRO (Reuters) - The second round of direct peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians will take place in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on September 14-15, the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

At the relaunching of the talks in Washington on Thursday, U.S. mediator George Mitchell said the coming round would be held on those dates in the region, without specifying an exact venue, and that the two sides would meet every two weeks.

“Egypt will host the second round of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh,” Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said in a statement carried by the state news agency MENA.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will lead the negotiations with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attending, Zaki added.

Clinton will be joined in the negotiations by Mitchell, a State Department official said, and after the talks in Sharm el-Sheikh she will visit Jerusalem where she will have a three-way meeting with Netanyahu and Abbas on September 15.

Egypt, which in 1979 became the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel, has long played a mediation role but has often criticized Israel for settlement building. The talks are also backed by Jordan.

Arab foreign ministers are expected to endorse the direct talks at the Arab League’s second annual meeting, scheduled to take place in Cairo on September 13.

Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Washington; writing by Marwa Awad; editing by Mohammad Zargham