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Russian President Pushes for Mideast Conference

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev is continuing to push for a Middle East peace conference to be held in Moscow by the end of this year.

Mr. Medvedev reiterated Russia's intention to host the conference while speaking Tuesday in Cairo.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak offered his support for the conference and praised Russia's influence in the Middle East.

President Medvedev is visiting Egypt, the first stop on his trip to Africa, which also includes visits to Nigeria, Namibia and Angola.

Russia has aimed to be a key player in the Middle East peace process and has promoted the idea of an international conference in Moscow for months. But plans for the conference have been resisted by the United States and Israel.

Russia is a member of the Quartet of Middle East negotiators, along with the European Union, the United States and the United Nations. Russia is the only Quartet member talking to the Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. The United States and the EU consider Hamas a terrorist organization.

President Medvedev's trip to Egypt comes less than three weeks after U.S. President Barack Obama visited Cairo to deliver an address aimed at improving Washington's ties with the Muslim world.

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