Netanyahu to Mubarak: Press Palestinians on direct talks


(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to press the Palestinians to return to direct talks.

Netanyahu, in his statement after meeting Thursday with Mubarak in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik, said he asked Mubarak "to act to persuade the Palestinians to move to direct, intensive and serious negotiations — in which all core issues will be raised — forthwith."

Palestinian Authority officials have said their own proposals for comprehensive direct talks have been rebuffed by Netanyahu, who they claim wants first to deal with security arrangements.

Netanyahu and Mubarak also discussed the infiltration of African refugees from Egypt into Israel.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu updated President Mubarak on the rapid progress in constructing the fence along the border with Egypt and added that the fence would help reduce the number of Africans who infiltrate into Israel through Egypt, some of whom remain there," the Netanyahu statement said.

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