Arafat in Egypt from US for Talks with Mubarak, Officials
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat arrived in Cairo late Saturday from Washington to hold talks immediately with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Mussa, an official source said Saturday.
On Sunday, Arafat is due to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose political advisor, Osama al-Baz, was also scheduled to attend the earlier meeting with Mussa, the source added.
Mubarak and Arafat are expected to discuss the Arafat’s talks last Thursday with US President Bill Clinton.
The United States confirmed on Friday that it was looking to play a more active role in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
"We've certainly indicated that we would be prepared to play a more involved role at the table with the Palestinians and the Israelis in the coming weeks and months ... I think right now, as I indicated, we are ready," State Department spokesman James Rubin said.
President Arafat began talks with US leaders on Thursday as the clock ticked towards the May target date for an elusive agreement with Israel on the shape of a permanent peace.
Arafat first met Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at her Georgetown home and then met at the White House with President Bill Clinton, who promised a more intensified US role in the acceleration of the peace talks.
Israelis and Palestinians have held two weeks of intensive negotiations in two months in the United States on a framework agreement on some of the toughest disputes in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including borders, Jerusalem and refugees.
The next round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is scheduled to begin April 30 in Eilat, Israel, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians reaffirmed Saturday that they will declare next September the establishment of the Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories, occupied in 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital.
Secretary general of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Ahmed Abdul Rahman told voice of Palestine radio that the present impasse in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks would lead to an explosion unless Israel carried out the third phase of redeployment of troops and respected the timetable set for reaching an agreement for the final settlement framework – (Agencies)
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