Saudi, Egypt discuss Mideast peace initiative

Daily Star Egypt Staff
3 Min Read

CAIRO: President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi King Abdullah opened talks Wednesday in Sharm El-Sheikh on efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the official news agency MENA said. The talks in the Red Sea resort were to focus on a resumption of negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, and Egypt s push for a summit between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, MENA said. The two Arab leaders were also to discuss the tense situation in Iraq as well as the Lebanese-Syrian portfolio, the situation in Darfur in Sudan and bilateral relations, it said. The Saudi-owned newspaper Al-Hayat said Wednesday that a new international action will be launched in the region to break the stalemate in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. Arab-U.S. and inter-Arab contacts are underway to develop this action into a political initiative which would remove obstacles hindering a resumption of negotiations, the paper said. Its sources did not reveal the content of the initiative but said it was supported by the U.S. administration after it was discussed by President George W. Bush with an Arab official in Washington. Bush met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal at the White House on May 19. Al-Hayat said Prince Saud later paid an unpublicized visit to Sharm El-Sheikh on Saturday and that the Saudi king received a telephone call from Bush the following day. Bush appears convinced that a settlement of the Palestinian issue is essential to resolve the American problem in Iraq, an Arab source told the paper, referring to the ongoing anti-U.S. insurgency there. Abdullah s trip to Egypt comes ahead of a June 4 meeting between Mubarak and Olmert in Sharm El-Sheikh. The Jewish state has frozen all contact with the Palestinian Authority since Hamas won a January parliamentary election and went on to form a government in March. Hamas and Abbas rival Fatah faction have been holding talks to resolve their differences over the conflict with Israel and over control of the Palestinian security forces. AFP

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