SHARM EL SHEIKH (Egypt)-President Hosni Mubarak Tuesday met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of a second round of direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis.
Mubarak and Clinton discussed Egypt's view of how to push forward the talks, which were launched in Washington earlier this month, reported the official Middle East News Agency.
Mubarak are expected to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the start of their talks on Tuesday. Egypt is urging Israel to extend a temporary freeze on settlement construction, which is due to end on September 26.
“I hope Israel will seriously renew the freeze of settlement construction in the Palestinian territories,” said Hossam Zaki, the spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
He added Monday that Israel should be convinced that to keep the negotiating process on track, there should be no new settlements.
“Any new settlement construction will gravely harm negotiations and this cast a shadow over Israel’s seriousness and credibility concerning the resumption of concerning the resumption of negotiations,” added the official. He said that Egypt was exerting efforts to this end, without elaborating.
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.