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Egyptians Hope Olmert-Mubarak Meeting Leads to 4-Way Summit

Egyptian diplomats are trying to arrange a four-way summit between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and leaders of the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Egypt.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 1/4/2007, 5:12 PM / Last Update: 1/4/2007, 8:39 AM

Olmert is set to meet Thursday evening with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss the proposal, the stalled talks between Israel and the PA, and smuggling of weapons and money into the Gaza Strip. Olmert will request stronger Egyptian monitoring of the border.

Coincidentally, a smuggling tunnel under the Philadelphi Route, between Gaza and Egypt, collapsed this morning, injuring several Arab smugglers and trapping one.

A four-way summit is expected to top the agenda at Thursday’s meeting, where Egyptian officials are hoping to convince Israel to come back to the negotiating table with the PA despite the continuing rocket attacks and other terrorist activity against the Jewish State.

According to the proposal, participants at the regional summit would include Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Egypt’s Mubarak, Israel’s Olmert and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).

It would be held in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, located in the Sinai Peninsula. Sharm was the site of a similar summit held in February 2005, which was attended by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The PA and Israel agreed at the time to an immediate cessation of all violence. That agreement did not last.

Thursday evening's meeting was originally supposed to include a presentation of the prisoner swap deal to free kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, but it is now unclear as to whether in fact that agreement is sealed.

The deal which was allegedly struck between Israel and the Hamas terrorists who abducted Shalit contains a wide range of obstacles that have yet to be resolved. Sources said Olmert was intending to thank Mubarak and his Intelligence Chief, Omar Suleiman for their efforts to broker a deal with the kidnappers.