PM to ask Mubarak for help with PA

At cabinet meeting Netanyahu says Egypt can help start direct talks.

Mubarak Netanyahu 311  (photo credit: Associated Press)
Mubarak Netanyahu 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is planning to ask for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's help in moving to direct peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, according to comments he made at the opening of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday.
Netanyahu stated that he planned to meet Mubarak in Egypt on Tuesday to discuss ways in which progress in negotiations can be achieved.
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In addition to discussing the the re-starting of direct negotiations with the Palestinians, Israeli officials said Netanyahu will brief Mubarak about his talks with Obama in Washington and about the changes in Israel’s policy regarding the blockade of Gaza.
The official said the sense in Jerusalem was that direct talks were “very close,” but he refused to give a timetable.
The announcement that Netanyahu will enlist Mubarak's help in gaining direct talks comes days after the prime minister met US President Barack Obama in Washington and implored him to pressure Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to agree to face to face negotiations.
Obama on Friday phoned PA President Mahmoud Abbas and urged him to change his mind about holding direct talks with Israel, according to a Palestinian official in Ramallah.
The Palestinian Authority has refused to begin direct talks with Israel unless progress is first achieved on two major core issues during the current proximity talks: security and borders. According to the official, however, the US administration is now pressing the PA to move on to direct negotiations.
“We’re under pressure to agree to direct negotiations with Israel,” the official said.
“Such a move requires the approval of the Arab League.”
The PA leadership has asked Arab League foreign ministers to convene soon to discuss the US demand, the official added.
“If the Arab League says it’s okay, we will go along.”
Getting the Arab League to agree is expected to be among the topics discussed on Tuesday, when Netanyahu travels to Egypt for his meeting with Mubarak.