Mubarak says peace talks hinge on Israeli settlement freeze

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in comments published on Wednesday that Israel must extend a settlement moratorium for negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders to succeed.

New York: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
said in comments published on Wednesday that Israel must extend a
settlement moratorium for negotiations between Israeli and
Palestinian leaders to succeed.

Mubarak, who is in Washington to attend the launch of
direct talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas tomorrow, also called
for international peacekeepers in a future Palestinian state.
"A complete halt to Israel`s settlement expansion in the
West Bank and east Jerusalem is critical if the negotiations
are to succeed, starting with an extension of Israel`s
moratorium on settlement-building, which expires this
month," he wrote in today`s edition of the New York Times.

The Palestinians say that a renewal of settlement
activities after September 26, when a nine-month partial
moratorium expires, would end the negotiations. The
settlements house about 500,000 people on lands occupied by
Israel in 1967.
Netanyahu faces pressure from his Likud party to continue
settlement construction.

Mubarak said Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with
Israel in 1979, is prepared to continue mediating between
Abbas`s Fatah party in the West Bank and the Islamist Hamas
movement in the Gaza Strip, which rejects talks with
Israel.

PTI

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