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Israel hopes Egypt will help set dialogue

Dec. 21, 2003 at 1:49 PM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- To jumpstart the stalled Middle East peace process, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, in Geneva, Switzerland.

"I am very encouraged to hear that President Mubarak will do everything he can to narrow the gap between us and the Palestinians," Shalom said in a news conference following the meeting.

Shalom said he hoped the Egyptians could help set up a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, the BBC reported.

Shalom also called for dialogue with Palestinian Prime Minister, Ahmed Qurei, also known as Abu Ala.

"It is a time to call Abu Ala to come back to the negotiating table without any preconditions," Shalom said. "We believe that if Palestinians will not put any preconditions in order to have a meeting between Sharon and Abu Ala, we will be able to have this meeting in the next few days."

Shalom is also planning to meet the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Nabil Shaath, while both are in Rome, according to an Israeli official.

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