US envoy in Egypt in bid to save Middle East talks
The United States' special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, met with Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak on Sunday after failing to get the Palestinians to agree to continue negotiations with Israel, DPA reported.
Mitchell is scrambling to meet with Middle East leaders in hopes that they can persuade the Palestinian leadership to continue talks with Israel despite its refusal to extend a 10-month moratorium on settlement expansion in the West Bank that ended a week ago.
Mitchell met with leaders in Qatar on Saturday before flying to Cairo, where he initially held talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.
Mitchell then met with Arab League leader Amr Moussa on Saturday night, days before the league's member states are expected to show support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' withdrawal from the direct talks during a meeting in Cairo.
Mitchell is next scheduled to fly to Amman to meet with King Abdullah.
The US envoy concluded three days of talks Friday with Palestinian and Israeli leaders in a bid to save the peace negotiations.
But just as Mitchell left Ramallah, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) said they support Abbas ending the direct negotiations with Israel - less than a month after the peace talks were relaunched in Washington.
The PLO said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bore full responsibility for the collapse of the talks, given his refusal to extend the temporary freeze on settlement construction.