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Egyptian FM in Israel to Revive Stalled Peacetalks


Egyptian FM Arrives in Israel to Revive Stalled Peace Process

GAZA, Palestine -- Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher arrived in Israel on Monday in a brief visit, to inject momentum into the deadlock between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Maher will hold, in his brief visit, talks with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, his counterpart Silvan Shalom and the Israeli President Moshe Katsav. Maher’s visit likely comes in the course of Cairo’s efforts with the Palestinian Authority to revive the internationally-backed “Road Map” peace plan.

Earlier, The Egyptian President Hussni Mubarak, met with Silvan Shalom in Switzerland this month, that viewed as gesture of reinstating some warmth in the ties between the two parties.

Mubarak told reporter in Cairo Sunday that he (Mubarak) will dispatch Maher to encourage Israel to resume peace talks with the Palestinian leaders.

“There will be a meeting between him (Maher) and the Prime Minister (Sharon) for us to see the problems so we can help," Mubark said.

In Cairo, some of the Egyptian analysts said that Maher’s visit gives a sliver of hope in the possibility to achieve a breakthrough in the peace process, but they added that any move has to be commenced by Israel.

Palestinian negotiator Sa'eb Erekat told Al Jazeera TV that the Palestinians' demands remain unchanged:

"However, and despite all the Egyptian efforts, Israel should stop building the Apartheid Wall, halt aggressive attacks against the Palestinians, freeze its settlement activities, implement the Road Map, and lift closures on the

Palestinian territories and the siege on the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat," he said.

"These are the only steps that should be carried out," he added.

Israel, on its part, announced that Shalom-Mubarak meeting reflected a change in Egypt’s policy towards Israel that was vehemently denied by Ahmed Maher. He confirmed “President Mubarak assured that the efforts were made to halt tit for tat violence and attain a breakthrough in the implementation of the Road Map, which should be met with an Israeli move."

“Up to this moment, we have not seen any serious and effective Israeli move in symmetry with Arab and Egyptian willingness. What is required from Israel that it should effectively contribute to bring the efforts a success, they (Israelis) have to change their way of behaving,” Maher said.

In the same bracket, conflicting reports often said over the expected Qurei'-Sharon meeting. Meanwhile, some reports said the meeting will convene late of this week, others mentioned that it’s harder to hold the meeting due to the disputes over the agenda of the meeting, that is to be copped with by between Dov Weisglass, bureau chief of Sharon's office, and Hassen Abu Libda, bureau chief of the Palestinian Prime Minister's cabinet during their meeting today.


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