Egypt asks Israeli prime minister to visit

April 21, 2006 at 1:31 PM
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CAIRO, April 21 (UPI) -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has invited interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to visit Cairo to discuss peace with the Palestinian Authority.

Olmert has served as Israel's acting prime minister since Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke on January 4, the BBC reported.

Cairo hopes to facilitate peace talks between Olmert and the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, said Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

Abbas, the leader of the Fatah Party, is in favor of talks. The Palestinian militant group, Hamas, which won the January election victory, however, refuses to end its violent campaign or recognize Israel's right to exist.

Israel has vowed not to deal with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas, and has called Abbas irrelevant after Hamas' landslide win.

The details and dates of the Olmert's trip are not yet known. It will be the first meeting between the countries' leaders since 2005.

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