American Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, stated that the freeze on Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied West Bank must continue, and added that he realizes the issue is very politically sensitive.His statement came during a press conference at the Sharm Al Sheikh Egyptian resort following a round of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He said that the talks are moving in the right direction but also acknowledged settlement construction as one of the hardest issues to tackle.

Yet, Mitchell said that the parties must continue their talks and that the talks must remain discreet.

The U.S. Envoy further stated that the Palestinian and the Israelis have a common goal of a two-state solution.

The Tuesday round of talks at Sharm Al Sheikh was supposed to be concluded with a joint conference bringing together U.S. secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

But the leaders decided to hold another round of talks after the joint lunch as Abbas and Netanyahu were asked to remain for an unscheduled meeting. Following the meeting, the Israeli delegations flew to Tel Aviv.