Peace efforts hit as Middle East envoy quits


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Indy Politics

A flagging US effort to broker new Middle East peace talks took a fresh hit when presidential adviser Dennis Ross stepped down, leaving the White House without its chief Middle East strategist and one of its most seasoned peace negotiators.

Mr Ross, who served on the National Security Council as a special adviser to President Barack Obama, has been a key figure on the White House Middle East team and also an important voice in US policy on Iran.

Mr Ross had initially pledged to work for Obama for two years, but extended that by another year in light of the Arab Spring upheaval that has reshaped the Middle East, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

Mr Ross said in a statement: "Obviously, there is still work to do but I promised my wife I would return to government for only two years and we both agreed it is time to act on my promise."

Mr Ross's departure could fan doubts over Obama's Middle East peace strategy and follows the resignation in May of Middle East envoy George Mitchell.