U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell told President Shimon Peres Thursday in Jerusalem that he is seeking an "early relaunch" of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Mitchell met with the president in the afternoon, prior to a full day of talks scheduled with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and then Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He is slated to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday.
The U.S. envoy will meet in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and other PA leaders later Friday and on into the weekend.
President Peres expressed "full faith" in the policies of U.S. President Barack Obama, but reportedly also pointed out that the clock was ticking, and that decisions need to be made, regardless of tensions in the region.
A spokesperson for President Peres quoted him as saying that any delay in talks would destabilize the situation and serve the interests of those who want to kill any chance for peace.
"We're going to continue with our efforts to achieve an early relaunch of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians because we believe that's an essential step toward achieving the comprehensive peace to which I earlier referred," Mitchell told journalists prior to entering the meeting with Peres.
Foreign Minister Lieberman told Voice of Israel government radio that the idea of a "comprehensive peace" deal in the next few years was unrealistic, adding that anyone who believes it is possible "doesn't understand the situation and is spreading delusions."
Lieberman recommended that Israel negotiate an interim agreement that would defer the difficult issues to a "much later" stage in order create an atmosphere of stability.