Egypt Intelligence Chief to Peres: Mubarak Is Worried About Region

Omar Suleiman visits Israel to help jump start Middle East peace talks; Peres: Egypt is always attentive to needs of all sides.

President Shimon Peres met with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman on Thursday, in which the two discussed different methods to jump start the flailing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as a list of other security and strategic issues facing the region.

Peres and Omar Suleiman in Tel Aviv AP November 4, 2010

"[Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak is gravely concerned about the future of the region," Suleiman told Peres, explaining that he was sent to Israel to ensure that the "momentum of the peace talks is not lost."

Peres also brought up captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive by Hamas in Gaza for over four years.

Prior to the meeting, Peres said that "Egypt is a key player in the Middle East, and President Mubarak deserves thanks for his tremendous efforts for more than 30 years to prevent wars and bloodshed and to promote stability in the region."

Peres added that "Egypt fulfills an important diplomatic role in the efforts to achieve peace between us and the Palestinians, and even if sometimes they have their own ideas, they are always attentive to the needs of all sides."

"Suleiman arrived in Israel to help us overcome the difficulties that have arisen in the [peace] negotiations, and he is welcomed as a friend and an integral part of the process," Peres concluded.

Peace talks were recently relaunched during a Washington summit in early September. However, the talks quickly came to a halt when Israel resumed construction in West Bank settlements following a pre-scheduled 10-month moratorium.