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Palestinian, Egyptian Presidents Discuss Israel Peace Talks in Cairo


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo Thursday to discuss efforts to resume Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

The meeting came two days after he met with U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who is trying to get Israel and the Palestinians to engage in direct negotiations.

The Palestinian president declined Mitchell's proposal, insisting that the two sides first agree on an agenda for the talks and a timeline for the peace process. Mr. Abbas is also calling for a complete freeze of Israeli settlement construction on land Palestinians want for a future state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Mitchell that Israel wants talks without preconditions.

Egypt's MENA news agency says Mr. Abbas also met with Jordan's King Abdullah at the Cairo airport to discuss the peace talks. King Abdullah held separate meetings with the Egyptian president earlier in the day.

The Obama administration has been pushing for direct Israeli-Palestinian talks to resume early next month. Direct talks between Mr. Abbas and Mr. Netanyahu's predecessor, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, broke off in December 2008.

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

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