Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau on Tuesday firmly denied reports that the Israeli leader had presented Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak with a map delineating the borders of a future Palestinian state during their meeting in Cairo earlier this week.
The London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat quoted an Israeli source as saying that the Egyptian president rejected the proposal as out of hand, and it did not meet the Arab League's demands for a state based on 1967 borders with negligible amendments.
The Egyptian president reportedly advised Netanyahu to redraft the proposal to be consistent with the vision laid out by the Arab world. According to the same report, Mubarak grilled Netanyahu over the course of their three-hour meeting on Sunday to see how serious the Israeli leader was about resuming direct peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
Although the report cited Mubarak has having praised Netanyahu for his latest efforts to move toward peace, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that Cairo's official position on the matter was that more work needs to be done to bridge the gap between Israel and the Palestinians before they can move to direct talks.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Netanyahu met separately with Mubarak in Cairo on Sunday. Abbas has refused to negotiate directly with Netanyahu unless Israel agrees to recognize its 1967 borders as a basis for drawing a future Palestinian state, and accepts the deployment of an international force to guard its borders. Netanyahu has refused to be pinned down on a framework for negotiations.
At the conclusion of the Mubarak-Netanyhau meeting, the prime minister lauded the Egyptian leader for his involvement in the peace process.
"President Mubarak represents the aspiration to expand the circle of peace, stability and security to all the region's peoples. I view him as a central partner in achieving these important goals."
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