President Shimon Peres will visit Cairo next week and meet with his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, Ynet learned Tuesday.
The two presidents will discuss political issues, and according to estimates Cairo will request Jerusalem to make confidence-building gestures toward the Palestinians and help facilitate the transition from proximity talks to direct negotiations.
During Peres' trip to Egypt, slated for next Sunday, the president will be requested to broaden the Palestinian Authority's security control over the West Bank and extend the construction freeze in the settlements, which is due to expire in September.
The Egyptians will make clear that a failure to extend the freeze may jeopardize future negotiations.
The President's Residence in Jerusalem has yet to issue a response.
Earlier this month, Mubarak met in Egypt with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The meeting was postponed twice, which sparked a new wave of rumors on the Egyptian president's frail health condition.
Earlier on Tuesday it was reported that Mubarak sent a letter to Shas' spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, in which he thanked him for the get well wishes and rejected reports in Israeli media, according to which Mubarak has been diagnosed with cancer. The president added that he was in a "very good condition," and that he had "completely recovered."
According to information obtained by Ynet, the letter was handed to Rabbi Yosef by Egyptian Consul Sameh Nabil, who serves as the representative of Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suliman, who is also in charge of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
The fact the letter was transferred through Suliman's representative, instead of other echelons in the Egyptian embassy, indicates that Cairo considers Shas as an important element during a politically sensitive period, and is interested in opening direct communication channels with Eli Yishai's party.
It was not clear whether Nabil and Rabbi Yosef discussed other issues during their meeting.
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