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Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 05:55 GMT 06:55 UK
Egyptian envoys in MidEast talks

Two high-level Egyptian envoys are visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories on Sunday for talks aimed at reducing tensions in the region.

Israel radio said they would meet Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his Defence Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer.

It said the two envoys - the president's political adviser, Osama al-Baz, and his intelligence chief, General Omar Soleiman - would also meet the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

The radio report said Egypt was intensifying its involvement in reforms in the Palestinian Authority and in finding an alternative Palestinian leadership if Yasser Arafat stood down.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Maher, said the envoys were dealing with problems caused by Israeli policies.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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