CAIRO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has accepted an invitation by the United States to attend the launch of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians that aim to reach a peace deal within 12 months, state media said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
would meet President Barack Obama on Sept. 1 and would launch direct negotiations the next day.
Clinton's announcement was echoed by the Quartet of Mideast peace mediators -- the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- which issued its own invitation to the talks and underscored a deal could be reached within a year.
Mubarak, whose country in 1979 became the first Arab state to sign a peace deal with Israel
, and Jordanian King Abdullah were also invited. The talks will be the first direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians in 20 months.
Mubarak welcomed the announcement by the Quartet and confirmed his acceptance of the invitation from President Obama to participate in the launch of direct negotiations at the start of next month in Washington, the state daily al-Ahram reported. (Writing by Edmund Blair)