Arab leaders hold mini-summit in Egypt

Other News Materials 2 April 2008 20:51 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) -  Egyptian, Palestinian and Jordanian leaders Wednesday held a mini-summit in Egypt and discussed the current Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and efforts to enhance the peace process.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Salah al-Din al-Bashir stressed that peace was a strategic solution to regain the Palestinian rights and establish a Palestinian state.

He praised the Israeli move, in which a number of Israeli security checkpoints in Palestine were lifted. He said the move helped ease the Palestinian sufferings.

Speaking about recent news of establishing Israeli homes in settlement blocks in the occupied West Bank, al-Bashir said that Egypt and Jordan supported the importance of ending the issue of settlement, as stated in the road map.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit said his country has previously contacted the Middle East Quartet, highlighting the dangers of the Israeli settlements.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said after talks with Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak that efforts to de-escalate the situation in the Gaza Strip were continuing, but achieving no progress.

Abbas announced after his talks with Rice that he would resume talks with Israeli leaders suspended in February in the wake of an Israeli assault on Gaza.

Hamas has been launching rocket attacks on Israeli towns, which Israel says should stop as a condition for its ending its frequent offensives on the territory.

"Egypt's efforts to stop rocket attacks and opening its border with Gaza are going on. They are merely an exchange of views. But nothing written has been reached," Abbas said at a press conference after talks with Mubarak.

On his talks with Rice, Abbas said all parties - the Palestinian Authority, Israel and the US - were committed to the idea that 2008 should be used to reach an agreement on the final issues of the conflict.

"But this does not mean that we will reach an agreement," Abbas said, striking a note of caution.

Commenting on the Israeli troops that have been sent near to the Syrian-Lebanese borders, spokesman of the Egyptian presidency Soliman Awad said that Egypt rejects any threats of Israeli use of forces.

He added that the situation in the Middle East requires intensifying efforts to achieve peace, instead of implying the use of force, whether against Syria or Lebanon.

Awad stressed that Egypt is exerting efforts in Palestine to achieve a Palestinian-Israeli truce, to end the Palestinian killings in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

He added that Egypt is also mediating between the Palestinian movements of Fatah and Hamas.