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    Israeli PM to discuss Mideast peace in Egypt

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss the resumption of peace talks with Palestinians during his visit to Egypt, which starts on Sunday

    CAIRO, September 13 (RIA Novosti) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss the resumption of peace talks with Palestinians during his visit to Egypt, which starts on Sunday, an Egyptian diplomat said.

    The meeting between Netanyahu and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak comes shortly after Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak sanctioned the construction of 455 new homes in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

    Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said on the eve of Netanyahu's visit that the resumption of peace talks between Israel and Palestinians would be possible only if Tel Aviv freezes the construction of Jewish settlements on Palestinian territories.

    Egypt has accepted the role of mediator in the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Mideast peace talks broke down in December last year after Israel launched a military offensive in Gaza to stop militants firing rockets on southern Israeli towns.

    The issue of Jewish outposts has become the main obstacle to reviving peace talks with the Palestinians, and a sticking point in relations with the United States, Israel's main strategic ally.

    Under the internationally agreed roadmap for Middle East peace, Israel is obliged to freeze all settlement construction activity and remove unauthorized outposts built since 2001.

    Arab League head Amr Moussa said on Wednesday that Arab countries see no reason in normalizing relations with Israel as Tel Aviv continues building illegal settlements on the occupied Palestinian land.

    Meanwhile, U.S. Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell arrived late Saturday in Israel to help start Israeli-Palestinian talks before the two sides meet at the United Nations General Assembly on September 23.

     

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