Israel urges Egypt to get Palestinians back to talks

09:55, January 07, 2011      

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday that a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians is possible, and urged Egypt to convince the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.

The two leaders and senior ministerial officials met at Egypt's Red Sea resort Sharm el-Sheikh, where they held "lengthy, friendly and comprehensive discussion," according to officials with Netanyahu's entourage.

The talks mostly focused on bilateral efforts to get the dormant peace process between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) back on track.

The Israeli prime minister asked Mubarak to "persuade the Palestinians to move to direct, intensive and serious negotiations, in which all core issues will be raised," according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

The U.S.-sponsored direct talks between Israel and the PNA were launched with optimism in early September, but broke down within a few weeks following Israel's refusal to extend a self-imposed 10- month moratorium on construction of West Bank settlements.

Netanyahu spoke late Wednesday via telephone with Jordanian King Abdullah II, who called for "serious and effective peace talks," according to the Ynet news site.

Abdullah II told Netanyahu that a "deadlocked peace process threatens the entire region," and warned against "wasting more time," the report quoted a statement from Amman as reading.

Thursday's meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh also comes against a backdrop of Israel's construction of a fence along the mutual Sinai border, which the Israeli leader also discussed with Mubarak, the PMO statement said.

The barrier, according to the Israeli government, is intended to thwart the influx of thousands of Africans seeking work and refuge in Israel, as well as foiling arms and contraband smuggling, and human trafficking.

Source: Xinhua
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