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Governor George E. Pataki today demonstrated bold leadership for the revitalization of Lower Manhattan by affirming the aggressive timeline he set forth in April is "right on track." Speaking at an Association for a Better New York/Downtown Lower Manhattan Association luncheon at the Ritz Carlton, the Governor announced that former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell will mediate discussions between Deutsche Bank and its insurer, Allianz, beginning immediately, with a deadline to resolve the outstanding issues at the Deutsche Bank building site by December 31, 2003. "Deutsche Bank and Allianz should be commended for their willingness to put the future of Downtown first," Governor Pataki said. "All parties will begin settlement discussions immediately, and I look forward to a speedy resolution." The Governor commended Judge Michael Mukasey, the judge presiding over the World Trade Center insurance dispute between Silverstein Properties and its insurers, for taking the important step of appointing a mediator to expedite the resolution of that dispute. He also applauded Larry Silverstein, Swiss Re and all of the parties for their willingness to settle that matter expeditiously. "Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell has graciously accepted the role of mediator for these very important settlement talks," Governor Pataki said. "Senator Mitchell is a distinguished American and statesman. He has served our country through half a century of public service, brokering peace in Northern Ireland, for which he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and serving as a federal judge. I have the greatest confidence that we will have a fair and equitable resolution by the end of January." Senator George Mitchell, with the assistance and support of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, will assemble and lead a team to resolve this dispute. Senator Mitchell represented Maine in the United States Senate for 14 years, the last six as Majority Leader. At the request of the British and Irish Governments, Senator Mitchell served as Chairman of the International Commission on Disarmament in Northern Ireland, and as Chairman of the subsequent peace negotiations. Under his leadership the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom agreed to an historic accord, ending decades of conflict. The agreement was overwhelmingly ratified by the voters of Ireland, North and South. For his service in the cause of peace, Senator Mitchell has received numerous awards and honors, including the United Nations (UNESCO) Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the U.S. Government can bestow. In December of 2001, Senator Mitchell accepted an appointment as overseer of the American Red Cross Liberty Fund, which provides relief for September 11th attack victims and their families.