CAIRO (AFP) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said that his mediation efforts for the release of an Israeli soldier captured by Gaza militants were sabotaged by an unnamed party.Incidentally, the growing role Egypt has in mediating virtually every regional conflict has led to this:
"I had reached an honourable solution to the crisis of the captured soldier and had obtained from Israel that it free a large number of Palestinian detainees," Mubarak told the state-owned Al-Ahram daily.
He said he had reached the breakthrough in the negotiations following contacts with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and Hamas political supremo Khaled Meshaal.
Hamas' armed wing is one of three Palestinian militant groups that claimed the June 25 capture of the Israeli corporal following an attack on a southern Gaza border post.
"But Hamas was submitted to pressure and other parties, whom I will not identify, intervened in the contacts engaged by Egypt, raising new hurdles for an agreement which was imminent," Mubarak said.
Some Israeli newspapers have accused Meshaal's Syrian and Iranian backers of obstructing a deal.
CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt and the United States are to start holding frequent inter-ministerial consultations on key issues in the Middle East, Washington's top regional envoy David Welch has revealed.Aw, bestest friends again!
"I conveyed this morning an invitation from Secretary (of State Condoleezza) Rice to Foreign Minister Abul Gheit to begin a high-level strategic dialogue between Egypt and the United States," Welch told reporters after meeting Abul Gheit.
"The foreign minister has accepted this invitation," said Welch, who added that Abul Gheit and an Egyptian delegation were expected in Washington on Tuesday.
"We will cover all the topics of interest in our relationship. This means naturally that we shall discuss the critical regional issues, that will include Iran, Iraq, issues of concern in Africa, for example Sudan and Somalia, and particularly the Israeli-Palestinian question," Welch said.
He said the concept had been in the works for some time and stressed that "a good format" was needed for exchanges between "two countries like Egypt and the United States that have important responsibilities on the global stage."