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Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Saturday that the Arab side is waiting for a practical answer from Israel regarding the renewal of negotiations that would lead to a final status agreement to create a Palestinian State, Israel Radio reported.
Aboul Gheit spoke to an Egyptian paper following his return from Israel, where he visited along with Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul Ilah al-Khatib last week.
According to the Egyptian foreign minister, he and al-Khatib focused on the Israeli need to take measures to free additional prisoners, remove road blocks in the West Bank and to give hope to the Palestinians.
"There is a feeling in Israel for the need to push the peace process forward," said Aboul Gheit. "There exists an opportunity that must be utilized."
Aboul Gheit also spoke of meeting various Israeli officials during his visit, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Knesset Speaker Dali Itzik.
Peres, said Aboul Gheit, expressed, as usual, his willingness to push the peace process forward.
Of his meeting with Netanyahu, Aboul Gheit said that he and al-Khatib presented him with the Arab peace initiative and its diplomatic consequences, to which Netanyahu expressed some rejection while pointing out certain reservations.
According to the Egyptian foreign minister Netanyahu also spoke of the importance of economic cooperation with the Palestinians.