Egypt to host Arab leaders in Red Sea resort ahead of key talks

In a flurry of diplomatic activity ahead of a key US-sponsored Mideast conference, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Wednesday he will be holding talks with the leaders of Jordan and the Palestinians in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm e-Sheikh. Efforts to bring Saudi King Abdullah and Syrian President Bashar Assad to the Thursday gathering to make an Arab mini-summit failed apparently due to the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon in which the two countries back opposing sides. Mubarak was organizing the gathering ahead of an important Arab League ministerial meeting in Cairo in which Arab countries are expected to announce whether they will attend Monday's conference in Annapolis, Maryland. For its part, Egypt confirmed its attendance to the Annapolis meeting in a statement Wednesday saying Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit would attend "within the framework of Egypt's enduring keenness to extend any possible support for the Palestinian cause."