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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:29, February 04, 2007
Mubarak expresses optimism on Palestinian unity government
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Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Saturday evening that rival Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah is nearly to agree on a national unity government following weeks of clashes between them.

At a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mubarak said that the formation of a Palestinian national unity government is about to be finished unless there are any surprises.

Meanwhile, Mubarak made it clear that it is impossible for the Palestinian side to sit down with the Israeli side as long as there is no Palestinian internal agreement.

The Egyptian leader also expressed hope that the issue of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit captured by Palestinian armed groups in June would be resolved soon.

Mubarak added that his consultations with Merkel underlined the importance of continued regional and international pro-peace efforts in the Middle East, highly appreciating Merkel's efforts on the Mideast issues since Germany held the rotating presidency of the EU.

Talking on his talks with Merkel, Mubarak noted that the talks were held in a positive atmosphere that reflected the strength of Egyptian-German relations.

Merkel's first visit to Egypt comes as part of continued consultations between the two countries on regional and international issues of mutual concern, he said.

For her part, Merkel said that she agreed with Mubarak on the importance of supporting peace powers in the region, adding that Egypt was playing an important role in establishing peace in the Middle East.

Likewise, Merkel lauded Egyptian cooperation with the international Quartet, which groups the UN, the EU, the U.S. and Russia.

Merkel said her meeting with Mubarak earlier in the day addressed the latest developments on the Iraq, the Iranian nuclear file, developments in Sudan's western Darfur region and the situation in Lebanon.

The two sides also discussed the outcome of the Quartet meetings that were held in Washington on Friday and means of pushing forward the stagnant political process between the Palestinians and the Israelis, she added.

The two leaders also probed bilateral relations in the fields of trade, investment and tourism, in addition to cultural, scientific and academic cooperation.

Merkel arrived in Egypt earlier in the day to start her Mideast regional tour that will also take her to Saudi Arabia, the Untied Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Source: Xinhua


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