BREAKING NEWS

Abbas meets Mubarak in Cairo; Jordanian king also in Egypt

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo Thursday, as pressure increased on the PA to resume direct talks with Israel.
Abbas made no statement after the encounter but an Egyptian presidential source raised the possibility of a meeting later the same day between the Palestinian leader and Jordan's King Abdullah II, who is also visiting Cairo.
The visits come two days after Abbas met US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, whose administration is pressuring the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations with Israel.
A Palestinian official spoke of progress in the meeting with Mitchell and said Washington was preparing an invitation for direct talks.
Abbas has since May been holding US-mediated indirect talks with Israel, making face-to-face negotiations conditional on an Israeli freeze on settlement building on Palestinian land and on a timeframe for the peace process.
Mitchell said after Tuesday's meeting with Abbas that US mediators had begun to "seriously study" the Palestinian proposals.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is ready to enter direct negotiations, suspended during Israel's war in Gaza in December 2008-January 2009, but without conditions.
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