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Obama to name Mitchell as Mideast envoy: paper

US President Barack Obama plans this week to name former Northern Ireland peacemaker George Mitchell as his Middle East envoy to deal immediately with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a newspaper report has said.

world Updated: Jan 20, 2009 22:58 IST

Incoming President Barack Obama plans this week to name former Northern Ireland peacemaker George Mitchell as his Middle East envoy to deal immediately with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Mitchell will be appointed on Wednesday following the Senate's expected confirmation of Hillary Clinton as Obama's secretary of state, The Washington Post newspaper said quoting Obama aides.

In the runup to his inauguration, Obama had resisted pressure to speak out on a three-week Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip launched on December 27, insisting there was "only one president at a time" to represent the United States abroad.

A fragile truce between Israel and the Hamas Islamist movement took hold at the weekend.

Mitchell, 75, is a retired US senator who steered the tough negotiations that led to lasting peace in Northern Ireland. He is the son of a Lebanese immigrant mother, and of an Irish father who when orphaned was adopted by a Lebanese family.