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Arab Mini-Summit to Discuss Peace Impasse

<i> From Reuters</i>

The leaders of Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians will hold a summit in Cairo today to discuss the impasse in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization official said Saturday.

Palestinian Authority “President [Yasser] Arafat will leave for Cairo later today to attend a three-way summit which includes [Jordan’s] King Hussein and [Egyptian] President Hosni Mubarak,” the official said.

Jordanian officials said that Hussein will travel to Cairo today accompanied by Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali and Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh.

The three leaders last held a summit in September 1997 to discuss their concerns about the stalled peace process.

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Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled for more than 15 months over Jewish settlement expansion, Palestinian suicide bombings and the extent of an Israeli West Bank troop redeployment.

Israel has rejected a reported U.S. initiative to pull back its troops from an additional 13% of the West Bank in return for Palestinian action against Muslim militants. The Palestinians say they have accepted the U.S. plan.

Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab countries to have signed peace agreements with Israel, but their relations with the Jewish state have become increasingly strained as the halt in the peace process continues to drag on.

Palestinian officials have warned Israel that further stalemate would only worsen the situation.

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During their summit, the Arab leaders are expected to also discuss Israel’s plan to expand Jerusalem.


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