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EU to Host Mideast Talks Sunday


European Union officials will meet Sunday with envoys from Egypt and the Palestinian Authority to discuss the situation in the Middle East.

The bloc's Czech presidency said Wednesday that the meeting in Brussels will focus on Egypt's role in mediating Middle East negotiations.

A representative from Jordan will also attend the meeting. The EU officials will include Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

No invitation was made to Palestinian Authority rival Hamas, which the EU considers a terrorist group.

Egypt has been hosting talks to settle divisions among Palestinian factions as well as a more durable truce between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Talks in Cairo Wednesday addressed the possibility of a prisoner swap between Israel and the Palestinians.

Also Wednesday, the EU urged Israel to stop the demolition of some 90 Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem.

Israel plans to tear down the buildings in the Silwan neighborhood, saying they were built without permits. Palestinians say the move would displace more than 1,000 people and further hurt peace efforts.

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

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