Mubarak Meets Assad in Latakia, to Receive Arafat Back Home on Tuesday
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met Monday with his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al Assad in the coastal city of Latakia in order to discuss Mideast issues.
According to the official Kuwaiti news agency, KUNA, no immediate details were available about the meeting.
However, the agency quoted official sources in Cairo as saying earlier that the summit was part of ongoing consultations over deteriorating conditions in the Occupied Territories, resulting from the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.
Arab diplomatic sources earlier told AFP that the two leaders would discuss ways of "containing the escalation in the Palestinian territories."
ARAFAT EXPECTED IN EGYPT TUESDAY
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat was due in Egypt on Tuesday for talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak about the latest developments in the Middle East crisis, Egyptian sources told AFP Monday.
"Mubarak is to brief the Palestinian leader on the results of his latest contacts and talks about the situation in the region with the different parties, especially Arab leaders," a source at the presidential palace said.
The talks are scheduled to take place in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. Italian Foreign Minister Renato Ruggiero, quoted Sunday in the Italian press, said Egypt might host soon a meeting between Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.
An Egyptian diplomat, speaking to AFP, declined to confirm or deny such a meeting could take place in Egypt.
Sources had told the agency that among the proposals under discussion was an international surveillance team in the Palestinian territories made up of Americans and Europeans.
They said the idea amounted to a compromise to get around international observers asked for by Arafat but rejected by Israel as an unwelcome "internationalization" of the conflict.
Meanwhile, the Jordanian news agency, Petra, reported that King Abdullah spoke with Mubarak Sunday night ahead of a meeting in Amman with Arafat.
Petra said the Egyptian leader telephoned Abdullah as a follow-up to their meeting Saturday in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, in which they called on Israel to implement two US-brokered plans to end the violence in the Occupied Territories.
Arafat is to meet with Abdullah on Monday to explain "the Palestinian position regarding efforts to restore calm and end the Israeli aggression," Petra said.
Arafat prefers that such a meeting be held in Egypt, according to the Palestinian ambassador to the Cairo-based Arab League, Mohammed Sobeih.
But Arafat, who on Sunday began a tour to Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, cast doubt over the usefulness of the proposed meeting, according to AFP.
"I tell him 'welcome' but the most important thing is what are we going to discuss," Arafat told reporters, stressing that previous meetings with Peres since the start of the anti-Israeli uprising last September had failed to bear fruit.
Arafat, who was speaking after talks with Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb and ahead of a meeting with King Abdullah, said however that he was not opposed to the principle of a meeting with Peres.
"We don't say no to any proposal made by our European, American or Russian friends to meet (with Peres) because the peace process is a strategic option for us," Arafat said.
The agency added that Arafat also slammed Israel's targeted killings of Palestinian leaders and activists as "crimes against the law,” quickly adding: "We are all future martyrs.” – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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