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Egypt, Jordan, Palestinians Meet Ahead of US-Sponsored Peace Conference


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak held talks Thursday with the leaders of Jordan and the Palestinians to coordinate positions ahead of a U.S. sponsored Middle East peace conference next week.

The meeting between Mr. Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took place in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

But deposed Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas called the conference "stillborn," saying it will not bring any benefits to the Palestinians.

Egypt and Turkey became the first two Muslim nations to confirm their participation in the peace conference in the eastern U.S. city of Annapolis on November 27.

Other Arab states are expected to decide on their attendance during Friday's Arab League meeting in Cairo.

The United States has invited nearly 50 nations and organizations to the conference, including several Arab states that do not recognize Israel, such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria.

Egypt, Jordan and Turkey maintain diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

Mr. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are to attend the peace conference.

Israeli and Palestinian officials are trying to complete a joint document to be presented at the conference. The document would address core issues such as final borders, security, the status of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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