CAIRO: The outcome of President Hosni Mubarak’s talks with visiting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas dominated the national newspaper headlines, along with other government-related news. Meanwhile, while the prime minister’s upcoming visit to Washington and the absence of Mubarak from the Khartoum-based Arab summit raised speculations in the independent press.
The talks, held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, addressed regional developments, including agenda discussions of the approaching Arab summit due Tuesday in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, according to Al-Ahram. The summit coincides with the commencement of the Israeli general elections.
“The [recent] Israeli actions have breached international laws and the Road Map, Mubarak told the press following talks with Abbas. Commentators suggested that Mubarak was referring to a recent attack by the Israeli army on the Gaza Strip, where warplanes carried out several air strikes. In addition, F-16 fighter jets fired a warning missile on an uninhabited area near the Israeli border.
According to Deutsche-Presse-Agentur, Israeli Defense Minister Shaoul Mofaz told the Israeli media on Saturday that “the army would open fire at any Palestinian that approaches the border area between Israel and Gaza Strip.
Concerning the Khartoum summit, Mubarak did not respond to claims that security fears are the main reason behind the Egyptian president’s decision to cancel his participation in the summit, sending a high-profile convoy in his stead.
Commenting on the summit, Mubarak said that he and the Palestinian leader expected that the boosting of economic aid and the increase of financial support in the form of funds for Palestine would be the main effects of the summit. Of note is that Hamas, which dominated the recent Palestinian elections, called on Arab countries to increase their financial aid to the Palestinian Authority to $170 million per month, according to an AFP report Sunday.
“Monthly expenditure of the country amounts to $170 million, as $115 million of it is intended for salaries of administrative bodies, prominent Hamas leader Khaled Mashall said in the AFP report.
Meanwhile, on Monday the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm published a preview of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif’s diplomatic visit to Washington, due next May. According to preliminary official reports, the talks between the two countries will center on free trade and economic exchange. However, the newspaper predicts that more “hot issues will be awaiting the prime minister.
“Discussions of many [sensitive] issues are yet to be expected; issues like freedom of expression, the amendment of the Egyptian constitution and the elimination of the emergency law.
On another level, the international press reported the latest unfolding events in an investigation into terror attacks carried out in Sinai two years ago, killing at least 100 people and wounding many. “[These] terror attacks . were carried out by a militant group calling itself ‘Tawhid and Jihad,’ a name used by Al-Qaeda-linked groups elsewhere, Egyptian prosecutors said [on] Sunday, read an Associated Press report.
Prosecutor Hisham Badawi told AP that the militants formed a terrorist organization … which carried out the explosions.
According to the report, the Egyptian government claimed the suicide bombers “were locals without international connections. The name of the terrorist group, read the report, suggests that the group had “sympathies with Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda.