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President Mubarak
Photo: Reuters
King Abdullah
Photo: AFP
Mubarak: Egypt, Saudi Arabia support peace conference
Egyptian, Saudi leaders meet in Cairo to discuss upcoming US-sponsored peace conference. Egyptian presidential spokesman says two countries support summit, committed to ensuring its success
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah met in Cairo Saturday to discuss the upcoming US-sponsored Mideast peace conference, with Egypt saying both countries support the meeting.

 

After the two leaders met, Egypt's presidential spokesman, Suleiman Awaad, said the two countries were backing the conference because it could set the stage for a final agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

 

"Egypt and Saudi Arabia have a clear stance, that is to welcome the meeting because it comes after long years of a frozen peace process," Awaad told reporters. Saudi officials did not comment after the meeting. Arab countries, notably US allies Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, have been reluctant to commit to attending the conference unless there are guarantees that it will yield firm results.

 

'Committed to ensuring conference's success'

Awaad said Saturday that Mubarak and Abdullah expected the meeting to "set up the final solutions (for peace) ... within serious negotiations and a timetable." However, Palestinian officials said Saturday that pre-conference talks with Israel have hit a rough patch as negotiators try to write a joint document that is to serve as a basis for the meeting.

 

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the two sides haven't progressed beyond the preamble, and many disagreements remain.

 

Awaad said Saturday that Egypt and Saudi Arabia were committed to ensuring the conference's success. "Egypt and Saudi Arabia are serious, and Mubarak and King Abdullah are very keen to make this conference successful because its success will eventually lead to the benefit of the Palestinian people and the rest of the region."

 

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