Continued from page 1

Mr. Abbas is unlikely to enter direct talks without explicit backing from Arab states, whose support he received before engaging in indirect negotiations. Arab foreign ministers are to discuss the fate of those talks later this month.

Mr. Netanyahu, who met earlier Sunday with Mr. Mitchell in Jerusalem, told Israel’s Cabinet that he would discuss with Mr. Mubarak ways to resume direct talks with the Palestinians. The two leaders’ meeting in Cairo lasted nearly two hours.

Mr. Netanyahu also will meet late Sunday with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton upon his return to Jerusalem.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Ashton visited the blockaded Gaza Strip to gauge the impact of Israel’s easing of its embargo on the Hamas-ruled territory.

She called on the Israel to go beyond easing its embargo and throw open Gaza’s borders.

“We want to see the opportunity for people to be able to move around freely, to see goods not only coming in to Gaza but exports coming out of Gaza,” Ms. Ashton said.

Israel continues to ban virtually all exports from Gaza and restricts the import of badly needed construction supplies and raw materials for industry. And along with Egypt, it prevents most Gazans from traveling.

Israel, citing security concerns, has signaled that it is not willing to completely open border crossings.

Associated Press writers Karin Laub and Ibrahim Barzak contributed to this report from Gaza City, Gaza Strip.