Egypt: Israeli, Palestinian Security Talks Due to Resume Soon
Israelis and Palestinians will resume "very soon" their security talks in a bid to restore calm to the Middle East, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said Tuesday, without mentioning a date, reported AFP.
"Security meetings will start very soon in order to lay the basis for efforts to maintain calm in the region," Maher said after his German counterpart, Joschka Fischer, met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
It was the first mention of a resumption of security talks since last Friday's suicide bombing that killed 20 Israelis and the bomber in Tel Aviv.
In a press conference after his talks with Mubarak, Fischer urged the Palestinians and Israel Tuesday to firm up their "fragile" ceasefire and move swiftly to carry out US proposals to overcome their political divide.
"There is a ceasefire (which is) very fragile," Fischer told reporters, quoted by the official Kuwait news agency (KUNA).
"We agreed that we have to continue our combined efforts to stabilize this process and then to start the implementation of the Mitchell report."
The report from an international panel led by former US senator George Mitchell called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as well as a halt to Jewish settlement-building and Palestinian efforts to rein in "terrorism."
Fischer said he and Mubarak believe the Mitchell report "is a very good instrument (for reviving peace talks), but to reach that point we have now to go ahead with the implementation of the ceasefire," according to the agency.
"We have to combine our efforts to have a sustainable ceasefire and begin as soon as possible a political process," he said.
"I think there is a link between stabilization of the ceasefire and the beginning of (the) political process," Fischer added.
Upon his arrival in Cairo, Fischer held talks with his Egyptian counterpart, Ahmed Maher, on the situation in the Middle East, reported the daily Al Ahram.
"We agree on the need to restore calm at this stage and this calm should come with political steps for the implementation of the recommendations of the Mitchell report," Maher told reporters.
Fischer voiced the hope that the ceasefire ordered by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat Saturday night would be maintained.
"The current situation requires all of us to work to give peace a chance and I think there is a chance for peace," Fischer said, cited by the paper.
Fischer arrived from Israel, where he had an extended 48-hour visit that included meetings with his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Arafat and US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk.
The talks were aimed at restoring calm in the region after a deadly suicide bombing in Tel Aviv at the weekend that killed 20 Israelis and injured more than 100 others.
Fischer's tour is coinciding with intensive efforts by Egypt, the US, the European Union and Russia to avoid more unrest in the Palestinian territories - Albawaba.com
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