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Egypt, Saudi Arabia Leaders Discuss Iraq and Palestinian Situation - 2002-09-25

Egypt's president is in Saudi Arabia for a meeting with Saudi Arabia's crown prince to discuss possibilities for easing the escalating crisis between the United States and Iraq.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz are expected to discuss ways of averting a U.S.-led attack on Iraq. They are also seeking ways to negotiate an end to Israel's siege of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah.

Mr. Mubarak is also expected to brief the crown prince on the contents of a message he received Tuesday from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, delivered by Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said the Iraqi leader's letter stressed that his offer on the return of weapons inspectors is unconditional.

The United States and Britain are seeking a tough new resolution from the U.N. Security Council regarding Iraq before any search begins for Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt have stated their opposition to a U.S.-led strike against Iraq without the backing of the United Nations.

According to an Egyptian government official, President Mubarak and Crown Prince Abdullah may discuss seeking more concessions from Iraq, or developing a U.N. resolution which would be acceptable to both Baghdad and Washington.