US grateful to Egypt's leadership in Gaza ceasefire, envoy to the Middle East
Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak met Wednesday US President Barack Obama's envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, for talks on ways to secure a lasting ceasefire between the Palestinians and Israel, with the US envoy praising Cairo's efforts, reported dpa.
Mitchell arrived in Cairo on Tuesday at the beginning of a tour of the region. After Egypt he is to travel on to Israel and to the West Bank for talks with leaders there.
He and Mubarak also discussed the Egyptian initiative aimed at restoring relative calm between Israel and the Palestinians and the re-opening of Gaza's border points.
"The United States is grateful to Egypt for its leadership in bringing about a ceasefire. It is of critical importance that the ceasefire be extended and consolidated," Mitchell said after the meeting.
Mitchell also added that the US was committed to vigorously pursuing a lasting peace and stability in the region.
"The decision by President Obama to dispatch me to this region less than one week after his inauguration is clear and tangible evidence of this commitment," Mitchell added.
Shortly after touching down at Cairo airport, Mitchell had private talks with EU foreign-policy chief Javier Solana, who is making his own tour of the region in an attempt to turn twin ceasefire declarations from Hamas and Israel into a longer-term peace.
Meanwhile, earlier Wednesday, Israeli aircraft bombed tunnels under the Gaza-Egyptian border. The action came a day a bomb blast near the Gaza border killed an Israeli soldier.
Israeli troops fired at nearby houses in response, killing a Palestinian farmer.