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World Briefing / Israel

Progress cited in settlement talks

July 29, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Israel's prime minister and the top U.S. Mideast envoy said they had made progress on their dispute over West Bank settlements but offered no sign of a breakthrough.

Envoy George Mitchell has been pressing Israel to halt construction on the settlements. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says limited construction must be permitted to allow "natural growth" among settlers.

Seeking to calm Israeli nerves, Mitchell said Israel and the United States were "friends and allies."

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