- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 18, 2010


Mubarak tries to restart Mideast peace talks

CAIRO | Pressure intensified on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to agree to direct talks with Israel as Egypt held separate back-to-back meetings with the two sides Sunday in search of a compromise.

Mr. Abbas said he won’t negotiate directly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unless Israel agrees to recognize its 1967 frontier as a basis for the borders of a future Palestinian state and accepts the deployment of an international force to guard them. Mr. Netanyahu has refused to be pinned down on a framework for negotiations.

In an effort to sound out the prospects for a move to direct talks, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met with Mr. Abbas, Mr. Netanyahu and U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell separately Sunday in Cairo.

Egypt has friendly relations with both Israel and Mr. Abbas‘ Palestinian Authority. And Cairo - like Washington - is pushing to narrow the divide between the two sides and coax them back to the negotiating table.

Neither the leaders - nor the U.S. envoy - spoke after the meetings, but Egypt’s foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, told reporters there is still work to be done to get the Palestinians to move to direct talks.


Officials say gunmen kill 17 at party

PIEDRAS NEGRAS | Gunmen stormed a party in northern Mexico on Sunday and massacred 17 people, authorities said.

The gunmen arrived at the party in Torreon in several cars and opened fire without saying a word, the Coahuila state Attorney General’s Office said in statement. At least 18 people were wounded.

Several of the victims were young and some were women, but their identities and ages were not immediately determined.

Investigators had no suspects or information about a possible motive.

Police found at least 120 bullet casings at the scene, most of them from .223-caliber weapons.


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