Olmert calls Mubarak to discuss peace process

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JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli public radio reported.

The discussion focused on the possibility of reviving the Middle East peace process and on Olmert s contacts with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, it said.

Olmert also reiterated Israel s intention to send back African illegal immigrants who cross from Egypt, after 50 Sudanese refugees were handed over to Egyptian authorities earlier on Sunday.

African refugees trying to enter Israel illegally through its porous 250-kilometer border with Egypt are caught nearly every day.

More than 220 Africans, mostly Sudanese from the war-torn Darfur region, were arrested in July alone while trying to cross the frontier, Egyptian officials have said.

In a bid to counter the influx, Israel has said people entering the country illegally from Egypt will be sent back. But it has also said it would help a small number of asylum-seekers from Darfur.

According to United Nations figures, there are currently 1,200 refugees from Sudan in Israel, among them 300 from Darfur region.

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