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Egypt may host Mideast 'mini-summit' in May

 Egypt has officially confirmed that the Middle East 'mini-summit,' to be attended by the U.S. president, will take place in late May in Sharm el-Sheikh, MENA news agency said Friday.

The agency quoted Hossam Zaki, a spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, as saying that it will probably be held on the fringes of the International Economic Forum, which opens in the Egyptian resort town on May 18.

In addition to the U.S. president, the summit may be also attended by Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian presidents and the king of Jordan, he added.

The key issue on the agenda will be the continuation of peace talks between Israeli and Palestine authorities, which were launched last year at a summit in the United States.

Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) resumed peace talks last year after a seven-year hiatus at the U.S.-sponsored Middle East summit in Annapolis.

They pledged to do everything possible to draft a peace treaty by the end of 2008, as well as come to an agreement on the form of a future independent Palestinian state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party controls the West Bank after being ousted by the hard-line Islamic group Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and some EU states, from the Gaza Strip in a bloody conflict last June.

Fatah receives financial assistance from the West, while Gaza is fully isolated and boycotted by the PNA, the U.S. and Israel. Hamas has called for reconciliation with Fatah, but refuses to give up control of Gaza.

RIA Novosti


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