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Egypt, Jordan to prod Israel on Saudi deal

The Arab League appointed Egypt and Jordan to hold talks with Israel on a Saudi initiative for regional peace. Meeting Wednesday in Cairo, Arab foreign ministers decided that Egypt and Jordan — the only two members of the forum to have established full ties with the Jewish state — would make up a working group tasked with persuading Jerusalem to adopt the Saudi proposal. Israel has voiced interest in the proposal despite misgivings over its call for a full Israeli withdrawal from territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and ambiguous language on the Palestinian demand for a refugee “right of return” to Israel. Political analysts say the Olmert government is trying to circumvent deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian talks through contacts with the Arab League.