leaders - AFP - Sept 3 2010
From left, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Barack Obama, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah in Washington on September 2, 2010. Photo by AFP
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Egypt has been contacting international and regional authorities in order to examine options regarding an international peace summit, the London based Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat reported on Sunday.

Egyptian sources told the newspaper that Egypt finds it hard to accept the continued settlement freeze and Israel's refusal to cooperate and take positive steps on the settlement issue.

"The impasse in the peace process must end in order to sustain the Palestinians' international rights," said an Egyptian source.

"An international summit would redefine the fundamentals and the borders of a Palestinian state that would be erected on the territories occupied in June of 1967, with Israeli settlements or without."

The Egyptian source also told Al-Hayat that "there is no escaping the need to find a suitable alternative that would keep the peace process alive, especially in light of the Israeli government's extreme rightist views."

"We will not stand with our hands tied while the Israeli government refuses to cooperate with the Palestinians. We have other options we must examine."

Meanwhile, relations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have become considerably tense following a telephone conversation between the two leaders 10 days ago.

During that conversation, the French leader apparently asked Netanyahu to extend the settlement freeze in the West Bank so that peace talks with the Palestinians could be resumed.

Sources at the Prime Minister's Bureau, however, said that "the conversation was a routine call between friends."

About a month ago, Sarkozy proposed to Netanyahu and Abbas that they both take part in a summit aimed at overcoming the crisis stemming from the construction freeze and facilitating the continuation of direct negotiations between the two sides. Netanyahu and Abbas accepted the French proposal and preparations were underway.

According to the European diplomats, Sarkozy had scheduled the Paris summit for October 21, representing a first step toward restarting the peace talks. The subsequent stage would have taken place at a summit of the Union for the Mediterranean, scheduled for November in Barcelona, which both Netanyahu and Abbas are also expected to attend.

The diplomats said Netanyahu decided not to attend the Paris event once he realized that the U.S. administration viewed it as a positive development.

"Netanyahu realized that he would come under enormous pressure on the issue of the settlements and decided to cancel his participation to avoid that pressure," the diplomats said.