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ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas when she travels to the Middle East this weekend, a U.S. official said.
"She will have meetings in the region this weekend with President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters on Thursday during a trip to Pakistan.
"The specific date and location are still being worked."
It will be Clinton's second visit to the region since U.S. President Barack Obama took office in January. A senior U.S. envoy, George Mitchell, has been shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian leaders every few weeks.
Despite Obama's high-priority Middle East peace drive, Israel has rebuffed his request for a complete freeze on settlement construction, while Arab states have brushed off his calls for goodwill gestures towards the Jewish state.
Netanyahu has, with evident distaste, bowed to U.S. pressure to talk of negotiating the creation of a Palestinian state, but only if it is demilitarised and if Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state.
A statement from Crowley said, "These meetings will build on the intensive work the Administration has engaged in with both sides since the trilateral meeting last month.
"As President Obama has said, the Administration is committed to comprehensive peace, including a two-state solution."
(Reporting by Andy Quinn; Editing by Alison Williams and Louise Ireland)

Reuters