Abbas arrives in Egypt for Gaza talks
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived here on Saturday afternoon for talks with Egyptian leaders on the current crisis in the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip, Xinhua reported.
Abbas is expected to have talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday in a bid to help end the escalating Israeli attacks against Gaza, Palestinian ambassador to Egypt Nabil Amr told the Egyptian MENA news agency.
According to Egyptian official sources, Egypt is in preparation for an international conference on the Gaza crisis.
The international conference on Gaza is expected to be held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Jan. 18, said the sources.
It's unknown at the moment how many foreign leaders would participate in the meeting in the Red Sea resort.
On Saturday, Mubarak delivered an invitation to his French counterpart Nicholas Sarkozy for a consultative meeting on Sunday, said MENA.
Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Saturday that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is nearing the goals set for its Cast Lead Operation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
After three weeks of operation "the IDF is close to reaching the operation's objectives, to be bolstered with political agreements," Barak was quoted by Israeli news service Ynet as saying.
But Barak stressed the Israeli troops are in alert for any attacks, saying "The IDF and other security forces must continue their operation and be prepared for any possible development."
The Israeli operation on Gaza, which began on Dec. 27, 2008, entered its 22nd day on Saturday, killing more than 1,200 Palestinians and wounding over 5,200 others.