United States special Middle East envoy Martin Indyk will leave his post after nearly a year of unfruitful efforts to forge an Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace deal, Obama administration officials announced on Friday.
Indyk will return to his previous job at the Washington-based Brookings Institute think tank. It is unclear if Indyk, 62, will be replaced. His deputy, Frank Lowenstein, will assume the envoy position on an interim basis, the officials said.
The U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, according to The Associated Press. The State Department declined to comment on Indyk’s departure.
Indyk is the Obama administration’s second Mideast peace envoy to step down following a failed attempt to bring Israel and the Palestinian Authority to reach an agreement. Former Sen. George Mitchell left the post in May 2011 after attempting for two years to get peace negotiations going.
Prior to joining Brookings, Indyk served as former President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Israel and was a key participant in the 2000 Camp David peace talks. He was also a special assistant to Clinton and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council from 1993 to 1995. He served as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs in the State Department from 1997 to 2000.
Indyk was appointed Mideast envoy in July 2013 by Secretary of State John Kerry when the latter announced that peace talks would resume with the goal of reaching an agreement within nine months. The negotiations subsequently collapsed when the Palestinian Authority formed a unity government with Gaza based terror group Hamas and Israel reneged on its agreement to release a fourth tranche of Palestinian convicts.