Mubarak urges Israel to adopt trust-building measures with Palestinians
In a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres on Sunday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak urged Israel to adopt trust-building procedures during direct negotiations with the Palestinians, Xinhua reported.
During their talks in Cairo, Mubarak and Peres discussed efforts to relaunch the Middle East peace process and the chance to move to direct peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Mubarak underlined the necessity that the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians should be serious and continued with specified time frame, Egyptian presidential spokesman Suleiman Awad said at a press conference after the meeting.
The trust-building procedures should include settlement freeze, removing security checkpoints and facilitating the movement of Palestinians, Awad quoted the Egyptian President as saying, adding Mubarak called for halting what he described as "Israeli provocations that could hamper negotiations."
Mubarak also called for lifting the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, Awad added.
The Arab League Peace Initiative Committee agreed Thursday in principle to endorse direct peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, but left the time for holding the talks to the discretion of Abbas.
On his part, the Israeli president underlined Israeli commitment to achieving peace, Awad said.
Peres refused to comment on reports over the intention to launch direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel at the start of September.
"I cannot predict the date of launching direct negotiations. The Arab Peace Initiative Follow-up Committee gave the green light to the Palestinian president to go ahead with negotiations and left the time for starting these negotiations to him," he said, adding that the Palestinian people want to see peace on the ground.
The meeting came amid constant pressure by the United States for the shifting from the indirect proximity talks to direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
In a message to the Egyptian leader, Obama said the U.S. administration supports moving on to direct negotiations, according to Awad.
Meanwhile, Awad said that Egypt continues its support for the Palestinian people on various fronts, including the peace process.