Report: Mubarak may visit in Israel as Tel Aviv ''very pleased'' by warming of ties with Cairo
Egyptian President Hosni Muarak may pay his first official visit to Israel, the London-based Al Hayat newspaper reported Thursday. Mubarak has not visited Israel in an official capacity since becoming president in 1981.
Mubarak did visit Israel in 1995, however, when he attended the funeral of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Monday, in an effort to push forward talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The Egyptian minister is expected to hold talks with his Israeli peer and with the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon.
Maher will not visit Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah headquarters.
According to the Arabic newspaper report on Thursday, following Maher's trip, the Egyptian president will decide whether or not to go to Israel.
For his part, Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Silvan Shalom, said that Israel "is very pleased" by the warming of relations with Egypt. He noted that the upcoming visit of Maher follows his meeting with Mubarak in Geneva and a subsequent phone conversation between Mubarak and Sharon. "The Egyptian contribution has been a positive one, but it must extend beyond reaching a cease-fire to renewing negotiations, dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism and implementation of the Road Map," Shalom said.
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