Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has called on Israel to halt all settlement building and urged the resumption of talks with the Palestinians during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Cairo.
Netanyahu is now scheduled to meet US Middle East envoy George Mitchell next. Israeli President Shimon Peres says he is optimistic that peace talks will resume: “I do believe there is a fair chance to renew negotiations before the end of this month. I think that the time may be right to do so. There are still some remaining differences but they are manageable and if we shall miss this opportunity we shall remain without a date.” After meeting the Israeli prime minister Mitchell is due to hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who has said he will not restart peace negotiations unless Israel commits to a settlement freeze.