BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Middle East
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Monday, 4 March, 2002, 17:49 GMT
Mubarak proposes Mid-East summit
US Secretary of State Colin Powell (L) greets Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Mr Mubarak will take his offer to the White House
test hello test
By Jon Leyne
BBC correspondent in Washington

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has offered to host a meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

He first suggested the idea directly to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and is now seeking US support during a visit to Washington.

Israeli Knesset Member Naomi Blumental (R) comforts the brother of Gad Rejwan, killed by a Palestinian
The list of the Middle East's victims of violence grows daily

President Mubarak's proposal is that he should host a summit between Mr Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

He discussed it with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and is expected to raise it again when he meets President George W Bush on Tuesday.

But it does not appear as if President Mubarak has any more specific ideas about how to end the current stalemate in the Middle East.

Mr Sharon has refused to meet Mr Arafat since becoming Israeli prime minister last year so the proposal is most unlikely to be accepted, though there has been no public response yet from the Israeli leader.


The Americans are left in a more embarrassing position, caught between their support for the Israelis and their friendship for Mr Mubarak.

There is an element of competitive peace-making in the Egyptian suggestion.

It is clear President Mubarak does not want to be left behind in the wake of the much-discussed Saudi Arabian peace proposals.

The Saudis are proposing recognition of the state of Israel if Israel withdraws to its 1967 borders.

Both sets of ideas also cast Mr Sharon as the obstacle to peace and increase pressure on Washington to raise its involvement in the conflict.

American author and journalist Thomas Friedman
"Arafat and Sharon are too busy killing each other to pay attention to an outside mediator"
Natan Sharansky, Israeli cabinet minister
"We first have to cope with the terror, and we have to do it ourselves"
See also:

04 Mar 02 | Middle East
Six die in Israeli tank attack
04 Mar 02 | Middle East
Analysis: Sniper stuns Israeli army
03 Mar 02 | Middle East
Israel on the defensive
20 Feb 02 | Middle East
Q&A: Middle East conflict
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories