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Egyptian, Jordanian leaders meet to prepare for Annapolis conference
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08:22, November 23, 2007

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Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and visiting Jordanian King Abdullah II met in Egypt's Red Sea resort Sharm El Sheikh on Thursday on preparations for an U.S.-host Mideast peace conference due on Nov. 27, the official MENA news agency reported.

The two leaders discussed the outcome of Mubarak's talks over the past two days with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Quartet envoy Tony Blair, MENA said.

Mubarak and Abdullah II, who arrived in Sharm El Sheikh earlier in the day, also tackled means of alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian people.

According to MENA, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is likely to join Mubarak and Abdullah II for a three-way summit in Sharm El Sheikh later on Thursday to coordinate Arab stances ahead of the Annapolis meeting.

Meanwhile, foreign ministers of the Cairo-based Arab League's follow-up committee are scheduled to hold a consultative meeting here late Thursday to discuss the participation in the Annapolis meeting.

As an active mediator of regional peace and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Egypt has been working hard to render the Mideast conference a success.

During the talks with Olmert on Tuesday at Sharm el-Sheikh, Mubarak voiced his hope that the Annapolis conference would end the Mideast peace process deadlock.

On Wednesday, Mubarak also met Blair and stressed the importance of easing down the sufferings of the Palestinians and improving their daily lives as a condition for rallying the necessary Palestinian support for the peace efforts. In the same day, Egypt received and accepted an invitation from the United States to attend the Annapolis conference.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit is expected to head for Washington on Nov. 25 to attend the conference.

The U.S. State Department announced Tuesday evening that the Mideast peace conference will be held at Annapolis, Maryland, on Nov. 27.

Some 49 countries, institutions and individuals, including some selected Arab states and other key nations with a stake in the Mideast peace process, were invited to the international meeting, said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.


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