Egypt believes an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is still possible before US President Bill Clinton leaves office, if "courageous decisions" are taken, a newspaper said Monday.
Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and former Israeli president Ezer Weizman discussed how to revive the moribund peace process when they met Sunday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the government Al-Akhbar newspaper said.
"The goal of (Weizman's) visit was to contribute to stopping the spilling of Palestinian blood and reach a comprehensive peace in the region," Egypt's ambassador in Israel, Mohammed Bassiouni, told Al-Akhbar.
"Egypt believes it necessary to resume the negotiations and respect international legitimacy, and courageous political decisions must be taken," he added, without specifying the nature of these decisions.
Bassiouni said such decisions could "allow for reaching an agreement before the end of US President Bill Clinton's term" in January.
Several Egyptian newspapers said that the visit by Weizman, who has known Mubarak since Egypt and Israel made peace in the 1970s, took place "in agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak."
Weizman and Mubarak, both former pilots, have always enjoyed cordial relations.
During his term as president, Weizman made several visits to Egypt to improve tense relations with Israel, especially when Benjamin Netanyahu was Israeli prime minister.
Weizman was forced to resign on July 10 following a financial scandal. Moshe Katzav, a right-wing opposition deputy, was then elected president of Israel, a largely ceremonial post -- CAIRO (AFP)
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