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Egypt invites world leaders for talks on Gaza | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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CAIRO, (Reuters) – Egypt has invited several world leaders for talks on the violence in Gaza amid signs that Israel may halt its three- week military campaign there without an agreement with Hamas militants.

The state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Saturday that the Egyptian government has invited French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to hold talks with President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also planning to attend the talks in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, German government spokesman Thomas Steg said. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in Lebanon he may attend the meeting.

The nature of the meeting depended on what decision the Israeli cabinet would take. A Western diplomat in Cairo said the leaders would discuss how to coordinate the positions and efforts on the possible ceasefire.

But he added that if Israel decided to halt its campaign “it will be a very different type of a meeting”. He did not give more details. Egyptian officials were not available for comment.

Western officials said on Friday Egypt had proposed that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Abbas and Mubarak sign a deal that could cover security arrangements for Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel.

Both countries want Abbas and his forces, which Hamas drove out of Gaza in 2007, to reassert control at key crossings.

Western diplomats also said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and their Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan were expected to attend the talks in Egypt.

The Israeli attacks on Gaza have killed at least 1,200 Palestinians. Ten Israeli soldiers and three civilians, hit by Palestinian rockets from Gaza, have also died.