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Last Updated: Friday, 5 December, 2003, 10:21 GMT
Papers cautious on Cairo talks

Arabic papers assess the prospects for talks being held by Palestinian militants in the Egyptian capital Cairo on a possible truce with Israel.

Elsewhere in the Arabic press, the unofficial Middle East peace plan known as the Geneva accord continues to attract attention.

Given the heinous and oppressive policies adopted by the right-wing Israeli Government as the only measure to deal with the Palestinian people, the inter-Palestinian dialogue taking place in Cairo is considered crucial.

Al-Watan - Qatar

The expected Palestinian dialogue on the lands of our big sister, Egypt, gains special importance since it is under Egyptian auspices and attracts great Arab, regional, and international interest. It also constitutes a chance to consolidate our ranks... This will cut short the road for those betting on the dispersed condition of the Palestinian arena. And it dispels the excuse of saying there is no Palestinian partner to talk to.

Al-Quds - Palestinian

What could be concluded from the bitter and sometimes bloody Palestinian experience is that any truce... must be committed to by the Israeli government, which should also offer guarantees. If the cease-fire is not adhered to by both sides in the conflict, the possibility of its continuation is unrealistic, no matter how much the Palestinians exercise self-restraint.

Al-Quds - Palestinian

Certainly, the proposed truce will save the [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon government from its current international crisis. But the truce will yield nothing new for the Palestinians. The US administration is preoccupied with preparations for presidential elections, and will therefore not pressurize Sharon's government in fear of losing Jewish votes. As for the Egyptian government, it does not have much power which it can use to make its mediation successful.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi - London

The Egyptians are optimistic. They are talking about achieving a cease-fire agreement within a week. It seems that the chances of this truce are better than those of the previous one. This time it has US support, a thing that the previous one lacked. There is Israeli support for this measure that was not there in the past. There is also concrete Israeli commitment to the Americans, to implement our part in the cease-fire - if it is achieved.

Yediot Aharonot - Israel

The praise which the Geneva agreement received from Secretary of State Colin Powell, was a source of inspiration and satisfaction on our part. However we look forward to hearing more US support which would promote progress in the path of peace.

Al-Sharq al-Awsat - London

New Israeli efforts against the Geneva document confirm, once again, that Sharon's government will sabotage all efforts aimed at restoring peace in the Middle East region, even if these efforts are backed by the international community.

Al-Akhbar - Egypt

The importance of the Geneva document is that it has proved to international public opinion that besides people like Sharon, who is beating war drums, there are other Israelis who are releasing peace doves along with moderate Palestinians.

Al-Ahram - Egypt

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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