Israeli defence minister arrives in Egypt for talks with Mubarak

Israel Materials 26 August 2008 15:00 (UTC +04:00)

Israeli Defencse Minister Ehud Barak arrived in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria on Tuesday, to continue talks with the Egyptian president Hosny Mubarak, reported dpa.

Talks are to focus on the release of the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, kidnapped by Hamas-linked militants in June 2006.

The situation in the Gaza strip and the Israeli-Palestinian talks will also be among the topics on the agenda.

Barak will also be meeting the Head of Egyptian Intelligence, Omar Soliman.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Israel to gauge the progress of the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

But Rice admitted that there was "a lot of work ahead" if the sides were to meet their goal of a peace deal by the end of the year. She held talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders during her visit.

Egypt is also currently hosting Palestinian factions in an attempt to resolve the split between Hamas and Fatah.

Officials from Fatah, Hamas and two smaller groups were expected to participate in talks in the coming days, aimed at ending Palestinian divisions.