Arafat Meets Mubarak at Start of Major Diplomatic Tour
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat arrived in Cairo Wednesday and held talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak en route to Washington to meet US President Bill Clinton, the MENA news agency said.
Arafat's Cairo stop was the first stage of a major diplomatic initiative which will culminate in talks at the White House on Thursday, as the death toll continues to rise from weeks of Israeli-Palestinian clashes.
Mubarak and Arafat met alone at the Ittihadiya Palace in northern Cairo before being joined by the Palestinians' chief peace negotiator with Israel, Saeb Erakat, and Mubarak's top advisor Osama al-Baz and others.
The Palestinian leader is also scheduled to hold talks with the European Union's special Middle East envoy Miguel Angel Moratinos who arrived in Egypt Tuesday evening, Egypt's state-owned MENA agency reported.
Arafat was then due to travel to Britain for similar talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair Wednesday before heading to Washington for the Clinton meeting.
The US President will hold separate talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday.
Deadly unrest flared in the Palestinian territories again Tuesday, despite moves to ease tensions ahead of the last-ditch bid by Clinton to end the bloodletting and repair the shattered peace process.
More than 180 people, most of them Palestinians, have died since violence erupted September 28 following a visit by an Israeli hardline opposition leader to a disputed holy site in east Jerusalem.
Arafat was accompanied by Palestinian number two Mahmud Abbas, as well as aides Yasser Abed Rabbo and Nabil Abu Rudeina -- CAIRO (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)