Israel-Palestine: Sharon to meet Abbas in Egypt next week

Israeli Prime Minister &to=http://' target=_blank>Ariel Sharon will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Egypt next week, the first summit between the two sides in four years of armed conflict, officials said on Wednesday.

The talks, to be joined by Egyptian President &to=http://' target=_blank>Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah, would aim to solidify a shaky new de facto cease-fire by setting in motion a peace process based on a U.S.-backed "road map" to a Palestinian state.

Sharon, who refused to meet Abbas's late predecessor &to=http://' target=_blank>Yasser Arafat , and the Palestinian leader accepted invitations from Mubarak to meet at Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea on February 8, informs Reuters.

According to the Daily Star, as the parties make their way to the Egyptian Red Sea resort, each of them is coming to the table with their own flavor to add to the meal. The Egyptians hope to regain a prominent role as a peace broker in the region.

Sharon wants to sell an idea that quenches the Israelis' appetite for security at home. Abbas wants to add the idea of statehood and upholding the rights of Palestinian people and King Abdullah wants to appease the large Palestinian population at home while maintaining his role as the keeper of the eastern border of a proposed Palestinian state.

With each of these distinct flavors coming to the dinner party, one wonders whether the meal will satisfy anyone at all.

In another sign that the new Palestinian leadership is serious about reining in militants, Palestinian security forces destroyed a tunnel along the Gaza-Egypt border Wednesday.

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