Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, held separate meetings in Cairo with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, U.S Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The talks were focused on the efforts to advance proximity talks into direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people.

Mitchell arrived in Cairo on Sunday before noon after concluding a meeting in Jerusalem with Netanyahu.

Mubarak received a letter from Obama confirming his persistence to pursue the peace process in order to establish an independent Palestinian state.
Mubarak also received a phone call from U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, also confirming the American seriousness in achieving a comprehensive peace in the region.

On his side, Mubarak said that Cairo will continue its efforts to reduce the gap between the Palestinian and Israeli stances in order to advance to direct talks between the two parties.

Later on Sunday, President Abbas arrived in Cairo and held a meeting with Mubarak and left Cairo without making any statement.

On Saturday, Abbas held a meeting with Egypt’s Security Chief, Omar Suleiman, and with the Arab League Secretary-General, Amro Mousa. Suleiman is in charge of the Palestinian-Israeli file.

On Sunday afternoon, Mubarak met Netanyahu in an attempt to bridge the gap between the Israeli and Palestinian stances.

Furthermore, Mousa held a meeting with Mitchell to discuss the proposal that would be submitted to the Arab Peace Initiative during its July 20th meeting in Cairo.

Abbas will be participating in the meeting which will discuss the possibility of moving towards direct talks with Israel.

The Obama administration hopes that direct talks could be started before September 26 the date Israel set for ending its so-called 10-month “freeze” on settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.