Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak delivered a message to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak from Syrian President Bashar Assad during their meeting in Sharm El Sheikh Wednesday, Arabic newspapers reported on Thursday. According to the UAE-based Al Bayan newspaper, Mubarak offered Egypt as a venue for direct talks between Syria and Israel in order to promote the peace process between the two sides.
It added Egypt thinks the best formula to the Israeli - Syria dispute will include a gradual Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Golan Heights. The withdrawal will be implemented over the course of 10 to 15 years after which it would be deployed with U.S. forces, including Egyptian troops. The paper quoted Egyptian sources as saying Israel should give up its idea to lease the Golan Heights from Syria. According to the Egyptians, such a deal will put the Syrian regime in a dangerous situation.