Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads to Egypt on Thursday for talks with President Hosni Mubarak on how to overcome an impasse in peace negotiations with the Palestinians. The two men will meet in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
AFP - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on Thursday heading to Egypt for talks with President Hosni Mubarak on ways to break the impasse in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, his office said.
The two leaders will meet in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for talks that will also focus on regional threats.
A statement from the Israeli leader's office said the two men would discuss ideas to advance the peace process, regional issues and other subjects of interest to the two neighbours.
"I am going to speak with him about the advancement of the peace process and the strengthening of security," Netanyahu said before leaving, in comments broadcast on Israel army radio.
"There are those who are trying to undermine the calm and the peace, including terror elements in Gaza who are manipulated by Iran," he said, referring to the Islamist Hamas movement which rules the enclave. He also mentioned Lebanon's Hezbollah militia.
"They don't want us to advance the (peace) process and they are trying to undermine and to stop the calm," he said. "We won't let them."
Netanyahu will meet Mubarak along with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and other officials, his office said.
Travelling with him are Trade and Industry Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer, national security chief Uzi Arad and military secretary Yohanan Locker.
An official from Netanyahu's office told AFP the two would also discuss "threats facing the stability of the region," without elaborating.
Israel's army radio said the two would talk about the growing threat posed by radical Islamist groups operating in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, who have been involved in several incidents of rocket fire towards Israel and Jordan over the last year.
Netanyahu was also expected to raise the issue of weapons smuggling through tunnels linking Egypt with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the first for nearly two years, began on September 2 but hit a crisis just three weeks later when an Israeli ban on settlement building expired.
Since then, the Palestinians have refused to continue talking until Israel renews a freeze on settlement activity, but US efforts to secure a new moratorium collapsed last month.
Ahead of the meeting Jordan's King Abdullah II telephoned Netanyahu, urging him to take "swift action" to move forward the stalled talks and warning against wasting more time, a statement from the palace said.
"Practical steps are needed to remove obstacles facing the peace process," it quoted him as saying. "The deadlocked peace process threatens the entire region."
International efforts are now focused on ways to try and bring the two parties back to some form of indirect negotiations.
Date created : 2011-01-06