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Egyptian Official Tries to Revive Mideast Talks


Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suliman has met with Israeli leaders in an effort to help stop Israeli-Palestinian violence. Mr. Suliman then traveled to the West Bank for talks with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The head of Egypt's General Intelligence Agency held a series of meetings Sunday with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.

Mr. Peres said during his talks with Mr. Suliman that the Palestinian Authority had to combat terrorism and clamp down on fundamentalist Islamic groups such as Hamas, which has carried out a wave of suicide bombings.

Mr. Suliman said that Egypt wants to help calm the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, which has raged for more than 22 months.

At the same time, he said that Israel must take measures to give the Palestinians hope.

Mr. Suliman then traveled to the West Bank city of Ramallah for a meeting with the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

The two were set to discuss the issue of reform of the Palestinian Authority, one of the conditions set by U.S. President George W. Bush for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Mr. Arafat has so far ignored calls by the White House to stand down from his post.

Instead, he has signaled a determination to cling to power, after firing one of his possible successors, Jibril Rajoub, as head of the powerful Palestinian Preventive Security Service in the West Bank.

At least 100 top Palestinian security officials are calling for Mr. Rajoub's reinstatement. Mr. Arafat is also facing strong pressure from Israel, which has re-occupied seven West Bank cities in response to recent suicide bombings.

Israeli Prime Minister Sharon says the fact that no Israeli has been killed in the past 16 days in a terror attack shows that the military offensive is working.

At the same time, he cautioned that what he called the war against Palestinian terrorism was far from over and "deep" security problems still remained.

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