05/11/2007, 00.00
ISRAEL – ARAB LEAGUE
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For Livni meeting with foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan was “historic”

Yesterday’s Cairo meeting was the first step on the road to the Arab League’s peace plan. The next one should be in Israel, a first for an Arab League delegation.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An “historic” meeting is how Israeli Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni described the talks she held in Cairo with Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Abd al-Ilah al-Khatib, respectively foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan. On March 28 the Arab League had authorised Cairo and Amman to explore Israel’s attitude towards the League’s peace plan.

The Israeli minister, who also met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, described the meeting as “preliminary” ahead of the next one, which should occur in Israel. When that happens, it would the first time an Arab League delegation visits the Jewish state.

Of yesterday’s talks, Ms Livni said that she had stressed the importance of Arab support for the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.

In her meeting with Mubarak, she made it clear that “the current situation in the Gaza Strip [was]  unacceptable," referring to the deteriorating situation in the Strip, including Hamas' strengthening and the increased rocket attacks on Israel, but she also expressed Israel's wish to strengthen ties with Egypt.

The peace plan formulated by the Saudis and endorsed by the Arab League calls for the recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 borders, the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a “just solution” to the Palestinian refugee problem.

But whilst the Jewish state wants to negotiate the contents of the plan before accepting it, the Arabs want Israel to accept it before negotiations can start.

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