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Israeli President Shimon Peres added his voice Sunday to the growing chorus of calls for direct talks.

“We must begin the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians as soon as possible. The timing is critical, and there is a window of opportunity that cannot be missed,” he said after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.

Mubarak spokesman Suleiman Awwad said direct peace talks must be “serious, continuous with a fixed time limit,” calling for an active and impartial U.S. role. He also said Israel should take further measures to ease conditions in the West Bank and lift its blockade of Gaza.

Israel has removed dozens of roadblocks in the West Bank, but hundreds remain. Last month Israel eased its blockade of Gaza by allowing in consumer goods, while maintaining restrictions on building materials, enforcing a sea blockade to keep weapons out of Gaza and banning most exports.