Egypt's Mubarak urges Israel, Palestinians to move toward direct talks

Monday, July 19, 2010


Mubarak urges both sides to hold direct talks

Pressure intensified on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to agree to direct talks with Israel as Egypt held separate, back-to-back meetings with the two sides Sunday in search of a compromise.

Abbas says he will not negotiate directly with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu unless Israel agrees to recognize its 1967 frontier as a basis for the borders of a future Palestinian state and accepts the deployment of an international force to guard them. Netanyahu has refused to be pinned down on a framework for negotiations.

In an effort to sound out the prospects for a move to direct talks, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met separately with Abbas, Netanyahu and U.S. Mideast envoy George J. Mitchell in Cairo on Sunday.

Egypt has friendly ties with Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and Cairo -- like Washington -- is pushing to narrow the divide between the two sides and coax them back to the negotiating table.

None of the leaders spoke after the meetings, and neither did Mitchell, but Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters that there is still work to be done to get the Palestinians to move toward direct talks.

-- Associated Press


13 miners trapped in flooded coal shaft

Rescue operations were underway for 13 miners trapped underground in a flooded coal shaft in northwestern China on Sunday -- a reminder of the dangers of an industry that claimed the lives of 36 others a day earlier.

The official Xinhua News Agency said that 16 workers were inside the shaft Sunday morning when water gushed into the mine in Jinta, a county in Gansu province, and that three men were safely lifted out. But 13 men remained trapped, according to an official from the State Administration of Work Safety.

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