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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 30, 2003

Sharon to meet Mubarak, but Arafat's offer of talks rejected

We have been waiting for the elections to be over in Israel, anticipating new actions. In addtion to a tank attack in Hebron, there is this at the diplomatic level, according to IsraelInsider
In a surprise move, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and congratulated him on his election victory. A year ago, Mubarak declared he could not work with Sharon; the two have not met since Sharon took office. Sharon told U.S. President George W. Bush that he would continue to work towards implementing their joint diplomatic plan, but rebuffed an offer for talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

According to the Prime Minister's Office, Mubarak called Sharon Wednesday morning and invited him for talks as soon as he established a new government. The two "discussed the need to continue the peace process in the Middle East," an official statement said.

Two days ago, Mubarak said in an interview that Egypt "must step up the contacts with Sharon, who will be reelected, and deal with him in a different way, because silence has not helped."

Egyptian sources said in Cairo that after his reelection, "Sharon could no longer be ignored," Yediot Aharonot reported. The sources added that Mubarak's planned meeting with Sharon was intended to give new life to the peace process and bring the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiations table.
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