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EGYPT TO HOST ARIEL-ABBAS SUMMIT (NEW YORK POST) By URI DAN JERUSALEM, ISRAEL 02/03/05)Source: http://www.nypost.com/news/worldnews/21675.htm NEW YORK POST NEW YORK POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
February 3, 2005 -- JERUSALEM ó Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet for the first time next week, at a summit backed by their Arab neighbors and the United States, officials said yesterday.

The Tuesday meeting at Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, is intended to maintain the peace momentum, which was fueled by Abbas´ election as Yasser Arafat´s successor. Since then, Abbas has engineered a truce between Palestinian terrorists and Israel.

Palestinian PM Ahmed Qureia said his side hopes the summit will formalize the cease-fire, with Israel agreeing to a large release of Palestinian prisoners and a halt to targeted killings of terrorists.

Officials in Jerusalem said the historic nature of the meeting, dubbed "Red Sea Summit II," was underlined by the presence of both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan.

Condoleezza Rice will be making her first visit to the region as secretary of state on Sunday, raising speculation that she will head the U.S. representation at the summit.

Sharon has held back-channel contacts with Egypt and Jordan to enlist their help for the Palestinians in assuming a greater role in maintaining security in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

At the first Red Sea summit in 2003, President Bush outlined the "road map" to peace, designed to create a Palestinian state and end more than 50 years of bloodshed.

Also yesterday:

* Palestinian security forces destroyed a tunnel along the Gaza-Egypt border. Israel has repeatedly tried to close down the tunnels near Rafah, which are used to smuggle weaponry into Gaza.

* German President Horst Koehler told the Israeli parliament, that Germany would always support a secure Jewish state and combat anti- Semitism.

"Responsibility for the Shoah [Holocaust] is part of the German identity. We must all understand that the victims of the Shoah have given us a task: never again to allow genocide." With Post Wire Services (Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc. 02/03/05)

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