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Netanyahu discussed peace process with King Abdullah, meets Mubarak today

In an effort to revive the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is conducting talks with Egyptian and Jordanian leaders this week. Netanyahu called Jordanian King Abdullah II last night and the two leaders discussed ways to overcome the current deadlock in the peace process. During the conversation, according to an official announcement issued by the Jordanians, the king urged Netanyahu to find ways to overcome “the obstacles that block the achievement of a two-state solution.” The Jordanian monarch also expressed his concern that the current stalemate will undermine security in the region. King Abdullah also dispatched his foreign minister to meet with Palestinian leaders in Ramallah in a parallel effort to renew direct negotiations between the sides.

PN Netanyahu will also travel to Egypt today and meet with President Hosni Mubarak. The two are scheduled to discuss the security situation in the region and the efforts to revive the diplomatic process with the Palestinians. During the brief summit, Netanyahu will also meet Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit as well as other officials, a statement from his office said. Traveling with him are Trade and Industry Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, national security chief Uzi Arad and military secretary Yohanan Locker.

It is speculated that the decision to invite Ben-Eliezer to join the Egypt trip is part of a broader effort by Netanyahu to alleviate the political discontent in his coalition. Ben-Eliezer has been one of the vocal Labour leaders who expressed their disappointment with the diplomatic deadlock and threatened to lead Labour out of the coalition. Earlier this week, Ben-Eliezer was also invited to join the inner cabinet of seven that advises the prime minister on key security and diplomatic issues.