Israel-Arab Summit Planned: Rabin, Hussein, Arafat, Mubarak
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ The leaders of Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinians will meet for an unprecedented summit Thursday to find ways to break the stalemate in Mideast peace talks.
The meeting in Cairo comes as talks between Israel and the PLO are mired in their worst crisis, overwhelmed by Islamic militants killing Israelis and Jewish settlers pushing Israel not to withdraw from occupied land.
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, in Cairo for talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, told reporters the meeting would be ``a real attempt to create a coalition for peace and not let the coalition against peace stop it.″
Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa said the summit also would deal with the Israeli-Syrian peace talks but that Syrian President Hafez Assad had not been invited. In a nod to Syria, Peres said ``this coalition remains open for others who want to join the peace process.″
According to Israeli sources, the idea for the meeting came in phone conversations between Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, although Moussa said it was also discussed by him and Peres during this week’s economic meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
Mubarak has been in touch with Rabin, King Hussein of Jordan and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat over the past few days to arrange the session, Moussa said. Officials in Jordan and the Gaza Strip confirmed King Hussein and Arafat would attend.
Attacks on Israelis have killed 54 people since October, including 21 in a bombing Jan. 22. The right-wing Likud party has been using the violence has a weapon to call for an end to the peace talks.
The violence has grown on both sides since the Israel-PLO peace accord was signed on the White House lawn in Washington. More than 100 Palestinians also have been slain since ceremony in September 1993.
Arafat is being attacked by opponents over the killing of Palestinians by Israeli troops and over Israel’s concessions to Jewish settlers.
While the PLO saw its accord with Israel as putting the settlements on hold, Israel has agreed to building thousands of more homes in the Jewish enclaves in the West Bank.
The summit also will include the foreign ministers of the countries involved and other PLO leaders in addition to Arafat, Moussa said.
Mubarak did not talk to reporters after his meeting with Peres. Moussa said the session centered on the Mideast peace process ``in all its aspects and all its tracks.″
Peres again praised the role of Mubarak and Egypt in mediating the peace talks with the Arab side. He and Moussa held separate discussions after the meeting with Mubarak.