Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has invited Israel "without delay" to discuss security on the Egypt-Gaza border. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who made a joint statement with Mubarak, said Israeli delegates would comply.
REUTERS - Egypt said on Tuesday it was proposing an immediate truce between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, to be followed by talks on long-term border arrangements and an end to the blockade of Gaza.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak presented the proposal in a brief statement after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The proposal made no mention of many of the elements which diplomats said were under discussion, such as an international force to prevent the Islamist group Hamas receiving weapons.
But a senior official in Sarkozy's office said that Egypt had told Israel the two countries could work together to make the border between Egypt and Gaza watertight.
Sarkozy then told Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: "You have to say that in these conditions you are ready to accept a ceasefire, which means a withdrawal from Gaza, and you have to do it now", added the official, who asked not to be named.
"Olmert told Sarkozy: 'If Mubarak does that then I will immediately announce a ceasefire and a withdrawal in principle, but I want to open talks with Egypt on the Philadelphi corridor (along the border between Egypt and Gaza)'," the official said.
If Olmert makes that announcement, then Sarkozy will make a statement, as president of the U.N. Security Council, asking the council not to discuss any resolutions, he added.
Mubarak did not say what role Hamas would play in the talks he is proposing. Israel and the Europeans who have been active diplomatically do not talk to the Islamist group.
Mubarak said he was offering the proposal to end the bloodshed in Gaza, where Israeli forces have killed more than 600 people in 11 days of attacks, including at least 42 civilians in an attack on one school on Tuesday.
Date created : 2009-01-06