Aboul Gheit meets top Obama advisor

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WASHINGTON: Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit met US national security advisor James Jones Tuesday, for talks arranged after President Hosni Mubarak cancelled a US visit over a family tragedy.

Jones also welcomed Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to the meeting, which took place just over a week before President Barack Obama heads to Egypt to give a major address to the Muslim world.

General Jones extended his condolences on the death of President Mubarak s grandson, said national security council spokesman Michael Hammer.

The meeting focused on pursuit of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, including the realization of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Hammer said.

They also discussed the president s upcoming visit to Egypt and covered other regional issues.

Mubarak cancelled his visit to the White House for talks with Obama, which were due to have taken place on Tuesday, after his 12-year-old grandson Mohamed Mubarak died last week.

The two presidents are still scheduled to meet in Egypt next week.

Obama is due to meet Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Thursday, in the latest in a string of talks as he attempts to revive stalled Middle East peace moves.

Last week, the president met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House said Tuesday he will fly to Saudi Arabia for talks on June 3 with King Abdullah, on the eve of his speech in Europe.

The president will meet with his majesty King Abdullah to discuss a range of important issues, including Middle East peace, Iran and terrorism, White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs said, adding that the talks would be on the evening of June 3.

The president believes it s a chance to discuss a lot of important business and he thought it was a good opportunity to do that, he said.

After the meeting with King Abdullah, Obama will make a long-awaited address to Muslims in Egypt on June 4, accelerating his bid to mend the US image in the Islamic world.

White House officials said the speech, fulfilling an Obama campaign promise, would focus on how Americans and Muslims abroad can secure the safety and security of their children in a more hopeful future.

Obama is then due to visit the German city of Dresden and the former Nazi death camp at Buchenwald on June 5 and attend D-Day commemorations in France on June 6.-AFP

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