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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A U.S. presidential envoy held on Sunday a second meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a shuttle trip that has yielded no signs of any imminent resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The envoy, George Mitchell, last saw Netanyahu on Friday, before flying to Cairo for discussions with Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
"It has been and remains an important objective of American policy and of President (Barack) Obama and the secretary of state personally to achieve comprehensive peace in the Middle East," Mitchell told reporters in Cairo, before travelling to Jerusalem for his second meeting with Netanyahu.
"We understand that there are many difficulties, that there are many obstacles. But we are determined and committed to continue our efforts until that objective is reached," he said.
Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, has said he expected a status report by mid-October from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Mitchell's efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks suspended since December.
Netanyahu has resisted U.S. pressure to freeze Jewish settlement on occupied land where Palestinians seek a state. On Friday, he held what his office called "constructive" talks with Mitchell. The envoy met two top Netanyahu aides on Saturday.
Obama's diplomatic drive has shown few tangible results other than a handshake meeting that he hosted between Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York last month.
Mitchell met Abbas in the occupied West Bank on Friday.
Netanyahu's right-leaning coalition government includes some nationalists for whom the very idea of Palestinian independence in the West Bank, biblical territory which Israel captured from Jordan in a 1967 war, is anathema.
Abbas has credibility problems, as his armed Islamist Hamas rivals control the Gaza Strip and rule out any permanent peace accord with the Jewish state.
Since his appointment in January, Mitchell, 76, has visited Israel and the West Bank nine times. The missions have been stymied by Netanyahu's refusal to halt construction in settlements and by Arab states' reluctance to make peace overtures.
(Additional reporting by Cairo bureau, Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Reuters