Israel and Egypt have begun peace talks in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. On the?
Israel and Egypt have begun peace talks in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. On the opening day (14 December), both sides pledged their determination to work for an end to 30 years of hostilities which have led to four Arab-Israeli wars. But the two countries showed their continuing deep differences over the Palestinian issue, the main stumbling block to a Middle East settlement. The differences emerged as soon as the Egyptian and Israeli delegation referred to the five parties absent from the talks. Dr Esmat Abdel Maguid of Egypt mentioned the Palestine Liberation Organisation, while Dr Eliahu Ben Elissar talked of 'an appropriate delegation of Palestinian Arabs'. To Israeli officials the term 'Palestinian Arab' means Palestinian living on the Israeli-occupied West Bank of the river Jordan and the Gaza Strip. The Arab World recognises the PLO, which is based outside these territories, as the sole representative of the Palestinians. At the conference, which is being held at the 19th century Mena House Hotel in the Shadow of the Pyramids, there were empty seats for Syria, the PLO, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Soviet Union. They were all invited but either refused to come or found diplomatic reasons for being absent.
SYNOPSIS: The only other parties attending the conference are the United States and the United Nations. They heard Dr Maguid speak first.