Thursday, January 29, 2009
11:57 Mecca time, 08:57 GMT      
'Moment ripe' for peace talks

Watch part two

US Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, is on the first leg of his Middle East 
tour aiming at revitalising the Arab-Israeli peace process.

After stopping off in Cairo, he will meet Israeli leaders this afternoon and 
will talk to Palestinian leaders in the West Bank on Thursday. However, he will 
not be going to Gaza or meeting Hamas officials.

According to Barak Obama, the US president, the "moment is ripe" for peace 
talks in the Middle East.

Mitchell has embarked on what Obama calls a "listening tour"; the US will be 
listening to Middle East leaders instead of dictating to them.

Obama has reflected a more balanced stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 
and this is reflected in his choice of Mitchell as Middle East envoy.

A former senator and experienced mediator, Mitchell was the man who helped 
bring the Northern Ireland conflict to an end. Will he be the man to achieve 
peace in the Middle East?

Our guests today are David Mack, US deputy assistant secretary of state for 
Near East affairs and a former Ambassador to the UAE; Khalid Safouri, a 
political consultant at Meridian strategies; and also Ian Black. He is the 
Middle East editor at the British Newspaper The Guardian.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 1730GMT 
and 2230GMT and is repeated at 0430GMT and 0830GMT on Thursday.

 Source:     Al Jazeera

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