CAIRO - Special U.S. peace envoy George Mitchell is in Egypt as part of a push to resume Arab-Israeli peace talks.
George Mitchell looked tired but sounded upbeat, on the latest lap of his shuttle mission that has brought him from Syria and Israel to Egypt.
The visit was his fifth to Cairo and the second in just more than a month and a half. One Egyptian analyst quipped Senator Mitchell is starting to become “a household name in Egypt and the Arab world.”
Egyptian TV showed the envoy meeting with President Hosni Mubarak and Foreign Minister Ahmed Abou Gheit, reporting that he briefed them about his weekend talks with Syrian President Bashar al Assad and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
After the meetings, Mitchell told journalists it is imperative to achieve a full and comprehensive peace in the region to improve the lives of everyone.
“We believe that a full comprehensive peace represents the best way to help all of the people of the region achieve the security, the peace, and the prospect for prosperity for individual citizens that all deserve,” Mitchell said.
The former senator said he has taken his plea for normalization in relations with Israel to various Arab leaders during his travels across the region.
“We are also meeting with the leaders of many of the Arab nations of the region to encourage them to take genuine steps toward normalization,” he said. “We are not asking anyone to achieve full normalization at this time, we recognize that that will come further down the road in this process.”
Egypt has had full diplomatic relations with Israel since the 1979 Camp David peace accords were signed by former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. But Israelis often complain that it is a “cold peace.”
The Arab daily al Hayat headlined that Syrian President Bashar al Assad told Mitchell, over the weekend, that “Arab rights and the return of the Golan Heights,” were at the top of his agenda.
An Arab summit, earlier this year, called for Israel to accept a 2002 Arab peace plan, which calls for “full normalization, in exchange for the return of occupied lands.”
Source: VOA News