Israel and Egypt meet over peace crisis

January 6, 2011 12:00 am

, JERUSALEM, Jan 6 – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads Thursday to Egypt for talks with President Hosni Mubarak on ways to break the impasse in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, his office said.

The two leaders will meet in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for talks that will also focus on threats facing the region.

"On the agenda for the talks is the advancement of the political process, regional issues and other subjects of interest to the two countries," a statement from Netanyahu\’s office said.

An official from the premier\’s office told AFP the two leaders would also debate "threats facing the stability of the region," without giving further details.

During the brief summit, Netanyahu will also meet Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit as well as other officials, a statement from his office said.

Travelling with him are Trade and Industry Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer, national security chief Uzi Arad and military secretary Yohanan Locker.

Netanyahu was also expected to raise the issue of weapons smuggling through tunnels linking Egypt with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Israel\’s army radio said.

Another subject likely to be on the agenda was the threat posed to both Israel and Egypt by radical Islamist groups operating in Egypt\’s Sinai peninsula, the radio said.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the first for nearly two years, began on September 2 but hit a crisis just three weeks later when an Israeli ban on settlement building expired.

Since then, the Palestinians have refused to continue talking until Israel renews a freeze on settlement activity, but US efforts to secure a new moratorium collapsed last month.

International efforts are now focused on ways to try and bring the two parties back to some form of indirect negotiations.


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