Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell is resigning as the Obama administration's Mideast envoy, a senior U.S. official told CNN Friday.
Mitchell, a former U.S. senator from Maine and prominent American diplomat, has served as President Barack Obama's point man in the region as the administration has tried to keep Arab-Israeli peace talks on track.
His resignation comes at a pivotal moment in the Arab world. Obama is scheduled to deliver an address next week on the "Arab Spring" - the uprisings that have shaken long-standing autocratic regimes across North Africa and the broader Middle East.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Obama and deliver an address to Congress next week.
Mitchell was among the president's first appointments. He was named Mideast envoy on January 22, 2009, two days after Obama took office.
Among other things, Mitchell also played a key role in Clinton-era negotiations regarding the status of Northern Ireland that resulted in the Good Friday Peace Agreement.
Mitchell has repeatedly reaffirmed the importance of comprehensive peace in the Middle East, including Israeli-Palestinian agreement on a two-state solution and normalization of relations between Israel and both Syria and Lebanon.