19 Jun 2009

Egyptian leader sees rare chance of Mideast peace

10:01 pm on 19 June 2009

President Barack Obama's "reassertion" of US leadership in the Middle East offers a rare opportunity to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak says.

In an editorial in the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Mr Mubarak says that Mr Obama was willing to take a lead in achieving peace and the Arab world would reciprocate.

"A historic settlement is within reach," he writes, "one that would give the Palestinians their state and freedom from occupation while granting Israel recognition and security to live in peace.

"Egypt stands ready to seize that moment, and I am confident that the Arab world will do the same."

Trying to broker Palestinian power-sharing deal

Egypt has been trying to broker a power-sharing deal between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and Gaza rulers Hamas: Mr Mubarak says the Palestinians must overcome their divisions to achieve their aspirations for statehood.

"The priority should be to resolve the permanent borders of a sovereign and territorially contiguous Palestinian state, based on the 1967 lines, as this would unlock most of the other permanent status issues, including settlements, security, water and Jerusalem," he writes.

Mr Mubarak calls Mr Obama's speech in Cairo earlier in June a turning point in US relations with the Muslim world and wants to see it followed up with "forward-looking" steps.