Egypt agrees to help stabilize Palestinian groups

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

CAIRO Egypt has agreed to a U.S. request to raise its profile to help the Palestinian Authority restore security.

Palestinian sources said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has agreed to renew a shuttle effort by his intelligence chief, Gen. Omar Suleiman, to Ramallah in an effort to reduce tensions between the PA and Palestinian insurgency groups in wake of the killing of three U.S. security personnel in the Gaza Strip last week. The PA has launched a crackdown on insurgents in the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip that has so far injured seven people.

Mubarak agreed to send Suleiman to Washington to brief the Bush administration on the tensions within the PA, the sources said. They said Suleiman was expected to warn that U.S. pressure on the PA could lead to the collapse of the government of Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei.

On Wednesday, Mubarak will meet visiting U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in Cairo, Middle East Newsline reported.

The sources said Egypt wants to renew efforts for a ceasefire between Israeli and Palestinian insurgency groups. A ceasefire declared by Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad on June 29 lasted about six weeks.

Suleiman was expected to discuss with senior U.S. officials a way to restore order in the PA and achieve a ceasefire with Israel. Suleiman has scheduled meetings with Vice President Richard Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice later this week.

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