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US pledges peace as Mitchell visits Middle East

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US pledges peace as Mitchell visits Middle East

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The US says it wants Syria’s help to forge a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Washington’s special envoy to the region George Mitchell travelled to Damascus on Sunday for talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Mitchell said America would welcome Syria’s full cooperation in trying to achieve peace. He also said, ‘‘President Obama is determined to facilitate a truly comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. That means peace between Palestinians and Israelis, between Syria and Israel and between Lebanon and Israel.’‘ Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has played down sharp differences with President Barack Obama over Jewish settlements. ‘‘It is only natural, that within a fabric of friendly relations between allies, there isn’t full agreement on all points. We are trying to reach understandings on various issues so that we can, together, advance our common goals: peace, security and prosperity for all of the Middle East.’‘ Netanyahu said. Settlement expansion remains a major stumbling block in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Mitchell has now gone to Israel for talks.