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Israel and Egypt eye movement on peace process

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egypt President Mubarak met in Cairo and discussed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process ahead of a visit by US envoy George Mitchell. The two leaders also discussed captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

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Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (right) speaks with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Tuesday.

Tarek Mostafa/Reuters

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Cairo Tuesday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in talks aimed at bringing Egyptian pressure on the Palestinians ahead of a flurry of diplomatic activity expected next week, including a visit from US Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

The Israelis appear to be seeking more movement toward peace talks on the part of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, given what Mr. Netanyahu says are unprecedented moves toward peace by halting settlement construction in the West Bank. The 10-month freeze does not include East Jerusalem, where Israeli officials said yesterday they would build another 700 housing units, raising ire among Palestinians and summoning criticism from the Obama administration.

The Palestinian Authority under Mr. Abbas has said it will not return to peace talks unless Israel has a full settlement freeze, including not just the West Bank, but East Jerusalem as well.

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