The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had a phone conversation with the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, shortly before the meeting of the higher Arab ministerial monitoring committee. Held at the Arab League’s headquarters in Cairo on Wednesday 3 March, the agenda included a decision on the resumption of negotiations with the Israeli occupation authority, either directly or indirectly. The decision was to be taken following a lengthy presentation by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the US reactions to concerns about the negotiations.
According to Israeli media sources, Mr. Netanyahu emphasised to President Mubarak the desire of the Israelis to return to the negotiating table with the Palestinians “immediately and with no delay”. He also said that he is looking forward to Egyptian support for the peace process.
Hebrew Radio said that President Mubarak stressed the need to “establish an environment conducive to serious peace negotiations in accordance with clear terms of reference and a specific time frame”. That, said Mubarak, requires Israel “to stop its practices in the West Bank and lift its siege on the Gaza Strip.”