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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 January 2007, 19:36 GMT
Mubarak and Olmert meet for talks
Israeli PM Ehud Olmert (L) and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (R)
Mr Olmert (l) and Mr Mubarak (r) discussed a possible exchange
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has met Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Egypt in a bid to re-launch the Middle East peace process.

They had talks at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, their second meeting since Mr Olmert took office last March.

They also discussed recent violence in the Palestinian territories.

Mr Mubarak criticised an earlier Israeli raid that killed four people in Ramallah, saying military force could not achieve security for Israel.

"President Mubarak asserted to Prime Minister Olmert that Egypt rejects and is indignant at the military operation," Egypt's state-owned Mena news agency reported.

Further talks

The Egyptian and Israeli leaders were also expected to have discussed the issue of the Israeli soldier, Cpl Gilad Shalit, who was captured in June near the Gaza Strip by Palestinian militants.

Under the terms of a possible prisoner exchange, Israel would release hundreds of Palestinians in return for Cpl Shalit.

However, the BBC's Heba Saleh in Sharm el-Sheikh says, there are still important details to be agreed upon.

Mr Olmert asked Mr Mubarak to step up supervision over Egypt's border with Gaza in order to stop militants smuggling weapons and contraband using tunnels.

Officials interviewed before the meeting said they hoped it would pave the way for further talks between Mr Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli media said such talks might also include Mr Mubarak and the Jordanian leader, King Abdullah.

The Israeli and Palestinian leaders met formally for the first time in two years in December.

The meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh takes place ahead of a visit to the region later this month by the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

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