Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak's separate meetings with Washington's Middle East envoy and Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Cairo on Sunday ended with no signs of an impending shift from indirect to direct Middle East peace talks, dpa reported.
George Mitchell has been in the region since Thursday to push for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, hoping to achieve them before the partial freeze on Israeli construction in the occupied West Bank expires on September 26.
Official media said the meetings focused on "efforts to create necessary conditions for the progress of the peace process and achieving a two-state solution."
Mitchell and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had hoped to get Mubarak's support to start direct talks.
"I intend to speak with President Mubarak about ways to accelerate the entry into direct negotiations between us and the Palestinians," Netanyahu told a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem ahead of his departure.
But Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said that "there will be no automatic shift to the direct talks" after meeting with Mitchell later on Sunday.
"The US side believes that all problems can be solved through direct talks, but the Arab side believes there will be no move to direct talks," Moussa added. "There must be some progress in the security and border issues."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also said that moving from indirect to direct talks will require "clear Israeli answers regarding borders and security."
A sceptical and reluctant Abbas had entered into indirect talks with the hardline Netanyahu government only in the spring, more than a year after the Israeli premier took office.
The Arab League backed the US-brokered indirect talks in May, even though Abbas had entered into them without first having his preconditions met - most notably, a full freeze on Israeli construction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The league said it would support a four-month timeframe for the proximity talks. That expires in August.
Observers said Sunday's meetings were aimed at assessing the situation, which will be discussed during an Arab Peace Initiative committee meeting on July 29.
Israeli-Palestinian direct talks were suspended in December 2008, as Israel entered the election period that eventually brought the nationalist Netanyahu back to power.