CAIRO: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to meet Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak over iftar when he visits Egypt Sunday.
Netanyahu “will attend an iftar dinner with President Mubarak and discuss bilateral and regional issues said a statement released by the Israeli embassy. The traditional breaking of the Ramadan fast will take place at the Ittihadiya palace.
The talks are supposed to center on an array of issues including the prisoner swap exchange with Hamas and the stalled peace process.
“He will come to discuss regional and bilateral issues, as a part of the frequent dialogue between the countries, a spokesperson from the Israeli Embassy in Cairo previously told Daily News Egypt.
A spokesman for Netanyahu said that the two leaders will discuss “the peace process and issues of mutual concern, without going into further details.
However, the Israeli press reported Friday that the Israeli Prime Minister is seeking Mubarak’s assistance in securing a US meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is refusing to meet Netanyahu until Israel agrees to a freeze on settlements.
Arab League Secretary general Amr Moussa had also weighed in on the issue of settlements, saying last week that normalizing ties with Israel was practically impossible until settlement construction on Palestinian lands stopped.
“It is impossible to speak of normalization while Israel rejects to take any significant measure . I don’t believe that any Arab government can offer Israel the gift of normalization on a silver plate, this issue must be closed, he had said in response to news that Netanyahu intended to approve plans for new housing units in the West Bank.
Netanyahu will meet with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell on Monday, the day after the meeting with Mubarak. Mitchell will meet Israeli defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday.
Netanyahu is also expected to meet with intelligence chief Omar Suleiman during his visit to Cairo. Egypt is mediating a proposed prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for Hamas prisoners currently being held by Israel.
Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal was in Cairo last week to discuss the prisoner exchange deal with Suleiman, though he told reporters a deal was still far away, as well as to discuss Egyptian attempts to negotiate a political deal between Hamas and its rival faction Fatah.