Mubarak invites Netanyahu for meeting in Sharm al-Sheikh

Posted: April 7, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Egypt, Israel
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Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak

In a statement released yesterday, Prime Minister’s office officials claimed that Egypt President Hosni Mubarak has invited his Israeli counterpart Netanyahu to a meeting in Sharm al-Sheikh, located in Sinai desert. Officials also claimed both spoken to each other in a phone conversation.

The statement late Monday said Netanyahu and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak talked by phone, and Mubarak invited Netanyahu to the Egyptian Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheik for talks. No date was set.

A statement from the official Egyptian news agency on the conversation did not mention an invitation. It said Netanyahu called Mubarak and pledged to work for peace “despite premeditated impressions,” a reference to the new Israeli leader’s past opposition to concessions to the Palestinians.

A Netanyahu-Mubarak meeting could thaw a developing diplomatic freeze around the new Israeli government because of its hawkish makeup and past records of some of its main ministers.

Meeting in Sharm is obviously no meeting in Cairo or Tel Aviv (both of which could mean disastrous repercussions for Mubarak), yet, it might reflect Egypt’s will to both continue the peace process – while supporting Palestinian PM Abbas – while fighting Hamas, conflicts with which definitely would come up during the meeting between the two.

In the meanwhile, Netanyahu’s government would reevaluate previously signed deals – especially one signed at Annapolis – according to Jerusalem Post:

The Netanyahu government is conducting a thorough policy review in which all diplomatic components – from the road map peace plan to the Annapolis process – are being reevaluated, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

It is for this reason that the Prime Minister’s Office was unwilling to comment last week on Avigdor Lieberman’s maiden speech as foreign minister, in which he trashed the Annapolis process but said Israel was obligated by the road map, a document whose final goal is a two-state solution.

The prime minister has no intention of addressing in detail issues such as whether his government is bound by the road map or the Annapolis process until the policy review is completed, the Post has learned.

Lieberman, during his speech, stated that Israel has no obligation to Annapolis deal – which was not approved by either the Parliament or the government – and focuses on the Road Map instead, which urges cessation of Palestinian terrorism prior to Israeli withdrawals.

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