Know More About Palestine

Monday July 19, 2010 8:32 AM (EST+7)
Israeli, Palestinian leaders in talks with Mubarak

Read more: Hosni Mubarak, Egypt, Mahmoud Abbas, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, negotiations, direct talks

CAIRO, July 18 (Yasmine Saleh/Reuters) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met Palestinian and Israeli leaders and the US peace envoy on Sunday with a return to direct talks on the agenda, but a breakthrough still seemed distant.

Egypt has long played a mediating role in Middle East politics, but it is unusual for Cairo to host different leaders on the same day. Shuttle diplomacy has been the preferred way of operating.

None of the visitors saw the others, instead having back-to-back talks with Mubarak, who was flanked by his foreign minister and top intelligence officer.

US envoy George Mitchell, who has shuttled between the main players since a four-month window for indirect talks was agreed in May, held an hour-long meeting, then hurriedly left the presidency without briefing reporters.

Minutes after Mitchell's convoy of tinted-window white cars rolled out, a convoy of black cars rolled in, escorting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whom Mitchell met on Saturday in Ramallah.

Half an hour later Abbas was gone, again without speaking to reporters. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived soon after Abbas' departure.

The Egyptian state news agency MENA reported that Mubarak's talks with all three men focused on efforts to create the conditions necessary to advance the peace process and achieve a two-state solution. It did not elaborate.


Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters after the meetings that direct talks were not possible yet, but there was still time.

We are still hopeful that we can bridge this gap. The gap between the needs for security for Israel and the borders for the Palestinians, he said.

They (the Israelis) claim that they are determined to offer the Palestinians a good deal, he said, adding that Egypt was encouraging the United States to keep pushing for face-to-face talks.

In a statement after the talks, Netanyahu said: President Mubarak represents the aspiration for widening the cycle of peace and preserving the stability and security of the peoples of the region. I again found in him a key partner in achieving those important goals.

Abbas told a Jordanian newspaper on Saturday Israel must agree to the idea of a third party, possibly NATO, which would secure the borders of a future Palestinian state, and set other conditions for a return to direct talks.

Netanyahu has not publicly responded.

Israel and the United States are both pushing for a speedy return to direct talks. The Palestinians say they have yet to receive a clear response from Israel on issues such as the size and shape of a future Palestinian state, security and Israeli settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.

Netanyahu in November ordered a partial freeze on Jewish settlements that will lapse in September.

The long-stalled indirect talks are about halfway through their agreed four-month duration. (Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr in Jerusalem; writing by Alastair Sharp; editing by Andrew Roche)







Al-Madaris St. (same building as
MBC and al-Arabiya studios)
First Floor, Al-Bireh
PO Box 4045, Ramallah
PO Box 25047, Jerusalem 97300
Phone: ++972-2-297-6555
Fax: ++972-2-297-6555
Log in to My JMCC
 or Sign Up
Forgot your password?Close
Front Page
My Comments Photo of the Day
Calendar Hot Spot(for journalists)
Audio of the Day Video of the Day
Most Popular Historical Timeline
Noticeboard Blogs
My Tags Help Desk
User Info
First Name
Last Name
My Tags 
I am a
After signing up,you will receive
an automatically
generated password in your
Recover Password
Submit Your Email
 or Sign Up