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US pledges ‘great energy’ to two-state Mideast deal

US envoy George Mitchell said yesterday that the new administration of President Barack Obama would exert "great energy" in pursuit of a two-state Middle East peace settlement.
"It has been the policy of the United States for many years that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies in a two-state solution," he told reporters after meeting Eghyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.
This is "the policy of President Obama and one that we will pursue with great energy," he said, adding that an end to the conflict was "also in the national interest of the United States."
Mitchell, who has been touring the Middle East, met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas earlier in the week.
His message of a two-state solution – Israel living in security alongside a Palestinian state – was been met with scepticism by some in Netenyahu's hawkish cabinet.
"In the present circumstances, one has to work not for two states for two people, but for two economies for two people," Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said on Thursday.
Washington has sent a string of envoys to Israel and the West Bank since the 1993 Oslo peace accords which gave the Palestinians limited self-rule but which broke down after an intifada started in 2000.
"We recognise the complexity and difficulties … We are aware of a lot of history of expectations being raised and then not being met," Mitchell said.
"We will proceed as rationally as possible with a full commitment to our objective: to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East."