Monday’s papers: Mubarak meets with Netanyahu and Abbas, ElBaradei steps up campaign

State-owned papers report on President Hosni Mubarak’s meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, along with US peace envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell. Meanwhile the lawyers vs judges conflict and corruption files fill independent papers’ top stories.

State-owned Al-Ahram says Mubarak is seeking, along with Abbas and Netanyahu, a means of narrowing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. “Mubarak confirms to Obama the necessity of achieving improvements before resuming direct negotiations,” reads the lead. “Mubarak’s and Abbas’s discussions came after Abbas declared no direct talks with Israel unless progress on the borders and security files is achieved,” the report reads further.

Al-Akhbar, another state-run paper, reports on Mubarak’s condensed negotiations. “Mubarak demands Israeli strategic movements in preparation for direct negotiations,” reads the headline. “Obama confirms in a message to [Egypt’s] president his commitment to a Palestinian state,” adds the report.

State-owned Rose el-Youssef, like its counterparts, leads with news of Mubarak’s meetings: “From Obama to Mubarak: We are committed to a Palestinian independent state,” reads the story’s headline. Rose el-Youssef’s report focuses on how busy Egypt’s president is, with “five missions on a crowded presidential day that started with graduating military engineers… ending with the two-state resolution negotiations.”

The front page of Al-Ahram additionally announces that an aid convoy of 35 trucks has arrived in Gaza. The paper also states that Libyan aid has entered Gaza through the Rafah border.

Al-Akhbar supplements its coverage of Mubarak’s busy schedule with reports on the enrollment of 35,000 freshmen throughout universities and colleges in Egypt. “Eighty-eight percent is the minimum grade for joining top university schools,” reads the lead.

In privately-owned Al-Dostour, the top story is “Strong surprises in Tanta lawyers’ appeal.” The story mentions that the defendant in the case confirmed that the article used to accuse the lawyers had previously been “nullified.” Egypt has witnessed a conflict between judges and lawyers over the past two months after two lawyers were sentenced to up to five years in jail for assaulting a chief prosecutor.

Most famous for its anti-Mubarak tone, Al-Dostour quotes ElBaradei as saying, “Signatures on the statement for change are constantly increasing…reaching more than 155,000.” The article adds that the “knocking doors” campaign is preparing to collect a million signatures by October. Potential presidential contender ElBaradei has been calling for reform in Egypt since he arrived from abroad earlier this February. He is backing a call to end the three-decade-old emergency law and to hold transparent elections.

Independent newspaper Al-Shorouq chooses an AFP story on Mubarak’s health to run as its top story. From Jerusalem, Israeli Industry and Commerce Minister Benjamin Beni Azer is quoted as stating that Mubarak is “enjoying good health and will remain in his position for a longer period.”

The independent paper also reports on the issue of legal immunity for the MPs who abused their power in providing government-paid health care for their contacts. A source in the judiciary states that “parliamentary immunity for the seven MPs in the ‘treatment on the state’s account’ case…will be voided directly by the beginning of their judgment.”

In the privately-owned Nahdet Misr, Osama Al-Ghazali Harb, head of the Democratic Front Party, is quoted as saying, “the political regime in Egypt has produced great differences between social classes.”

The paper reports on an interview with Harb who said, “With great respect to President Mubarak, we don’t know who’s going to be the president in the coming period, and this is a perilous question, as we knew during the days of President Nasr that Sadat was coming, and during President Sadat’s time that Mubarak was coming, but now no one knows [who is coming].”

Egypt’s newspapers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run

Rose el-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party’s Policies Secretariat

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouq: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

Youm7: Weekly, privately owned

Sawt el-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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