Egypt's efforts to bring about an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reach an important stage Tuesday with talks between President Hosni Mubarak and US President Bill Clinton.
Clinton, who will arrive in Cairo early in the morning on his way home from Tanzania, is expected to meet with Mubarak for an hour and a half.
Egyptian officials have said they hope the summit will help open the way to a fair resolution to some of the thorniest issues, chief among them is the status of Jerusalem
The Palestinians also want complete sovereignty over the Compound of the Mosques, Islam's third holiest site, but Israel has refused.
Since the failure of the US-brokered Camp David summit last month, Egypt has been engaged in intensive diplomacy to reach a framework leading to an agreement satisfying both sides' demands.
But Mussa also made clear that even though Egypt considers itself a US ally, Cairo cannot lose sight of its interests as an Arab and Islamic country. Mubarak will listen attentively to Clinton's proposals, but Israel must show more flexibility, Mussa said.
Egypt's "delicate position" is also the reason Mubarak cancelled plans to attend the UN millenium summit in New York on September 8, said an Arab diplomat posted in Cairo. Clinton is expected to meet with both Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on the sidelines of the UN gathering.
"Mubarak does not want to be mixed up in any potential American pressure put on the Palestinian president," the diplomat said, requesting anonymity.
Clinton's visit will come one day after the committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference meets in Morocco to discuss the status of Jerusalem.
The meeting is expected to end in a final declaration that, as in earlier sessions, reaffirms committee support for the Palestinians positions, including their right to declare east Jerusalem their capital -- CAIRO (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )