Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Thursday that he had urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to extend the moratorium on settlement construction, which is due to expire later this month, by another few months so as to give the peace talks a chance.

In an interview with Channel 1, Mubarak said: "I told him [Netanyahu] to extend the freeze for at least three or four months during the talks. I told him that this would help achieve satisfactory results."

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Mubarak quoted Netanyahu as saying that he wasn't able to exited the freeze because of opposition from his coalition partners.

"I told Netanyahu to forget about all those who are hesitant and skeptical and to continue with the settlement freeze for a few ore months at least."


Mubarak said that he also made it clear during his meeting with Netanyahu earlier this week in Sharm e-Sheikh that extending the freeze was a small price compared with the repercussions of failing to do so.

The Egyptian president expressed hope that the extension would allow Israel and the Palestinians to reach agreement within a few months. The full interview with Mubarak will be broadcast on Saturday night.



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