Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres's meetings with Egyptian officials, well-informed Egyptian sources say, come at a time chosen by Cairo to: Boost Mr. Peres's standing in Israel.
Further the idea of an international conference on Mideast peace.
Mr. Peres, who was prime minister when he met with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak last September, arrived in Cairo yesterday. His visit comes as international developments seem to be converging in support of an international conference - one of the foundation stones of Egypt's policy. Recently, the European Community endorsed the idea as a means to resolve the Palestinian issue. Some observers here believe the Soviet Union may soon relax emigration restrictions on Jews - one of Israel's demands for Soviet participation.
And, Egyptian officials say, Jordan is ready for an international conference. The Palestine Liberation Organization is trying to bridge the gap with King Hussein - an achievement that could lead to Palestinian representation at the conference.
Peres's trip also comes as Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir is in the United States criticizing the idea of the international conference.
``We have something going with Peres,'' said Egyptian diplomat, Tahsin Bashir, referring to Peres's support for an international conference and to Egypt's intention to help him in his domestic struggle with Shamir.
Peres's main mission is to narrow differences on three points: Soviet participation, Palestinian representation, and duration of the conference (Israel wants it to convene once and then give way to direct talks.)
Even if Peres and Egypt were to reach an agreement, obstacles remain. Aside from Israeli hard-liners' opposition, Egyptian sources say a Jordan-PLO reconciliation is still a long way off as is the prospect of the PLO publicly recognizing Israel's right to exist.