Official: George Mitchell, U.S. Middle East envoy, to resign
May 13th, 2011
12:00 PM ET

Official: George Mitchell, U.S. Middle East envoy, to resign

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.

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Jason

    He's come to understand that Obama is no different then Bush.

    May 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • mfhpr

      No different THAN Bush? Get serious and open your eyes, and perhaps wait to see what the man says is his reason...

      May 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TheMovieFan

    Jason, he's 77.

    May 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mick

    You're an idiot, Jason. The details haven't been released, and you've already drawn foolish conclusions.

    May 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ANDROLOMA

    Now if we could only get George Michael to retire...

    May 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael

    It does not matter who is the U.S president. Peace between Israel and Palestine will be up to parties themselves to decide not any other countries.

    May 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mike

    who is george michael

    May 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Samuel R. Preston, III

    Nooo!!! no..no..no..noooooooooo!!!!

    Um, who is George Mitchell?

    May 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. warren smith

    he laid a good foundation for peace

    May 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ted

    He wants to run.

    May 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Slumberjack

    I guess doing absolutely nothing while sitting on the couch and eating the public's groceries for over two years is enough to wear on anybody, except perhaps for the corporate stooges and lackeys masquerading as public representatives on both sides of the isle up there on Knob Hill in Warshington. They may as well dressed up a plastic mannequin in a suit and parachuted it in for all the good it did. The entire farce of this appointment wasn't designed to do any good from the get go. That would only inconvenience the ones with their passages booked aboard the gravy train.

    May 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pliny

    He's fed up with israeli lies.

    May 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chuk

    I agree with Michael. Anyone who tries to "create" peace between these two peoples will end up being frustrated. It would not work. For instance, it has to be frustrating to not be able to tell Israel not to want to have it all: it can't have both the Palestinian land and peace. No one seem to be able to tell Isreal this because they're our "ally". Too big to hear the truth. So everyone's been running around for decades trying to do Isreal's heavy lifting. It won't work. I think in the end Isreal just has to fight its way out of a tough neighborhood. Good luck.

    May 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dan smith

    I'd imagine if we had bombs lobbed at us every day by Canada we would not have shown as much restraint as Israel has with the Palestinians. We certainly wouldn't be giving up land every time Canada sneezed at us.

    May 13, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. IKHAN

    Restraint? lol
    With their gunships and combat aircrafts shelling and destroying Palestinian refugee camps as a matter of routine. Their bulldozers levelling Palestinian homes sometime with people inside them. 76 homes demolished in the West bank in March, 29 in Jan, 70 in Feb of 2011 and it goes on & on. Entire non-Jewish villages taken over after 'ethnic cleansing'.
    And you call home made unguided rockets lobbed by militants in retaliation, which more often than not go astray causing no harm, ' bombs lobbed everyday". Since 2009 1 Iraeli civilian and two non-Israelis killed in these 'daily bombs lobbed'.

    According to UN figures since Sept 29, 2000, Palestinians killed number 6,430 and children 1,452. Israelis killed during the same period number 1084 and children 124.
    The far right Apartheid govt currently in power is the biggest obstacle in the way to a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.
    Ask the brave and patriotic Jews like Just Peace for Israel, Gush Shalom the brave Jewish women of Bat Shalom and others in Israel and they will tell you the truth.
    Americans are belatedly but slowly waking up to the tactics of the Israeli govt. to thwart any peace effort initiated by us thanks to the efforts of courageous Jews in this country. Like JStreet, Jewish Voice for Peace and rabbis of North America for Peace. The distinguished Rabbinic leaders
    like Rabbi Michael Lerner, Menachem Fruman,John Friedman and many more. And public intellectual and highly respected writers like Naom Chomsky, MJ Rosenberg, Robert Falk and Ilan Peppe.

    These voices will surely prevail for Peace and Benjamin Nethanyahu's efforts in the opposite direction are bound to fail.
    This I hope for the sake of America & us Americans.

    May 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Glazed and Confused

    Jesus God, IKHAN! My eyes just glazed over with all of your data figures, and I'm confused as to how all this overload of information pertains to George Mitchell announcing his resignation.

    TMI, dude!

    May 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
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