Mubarak hosts Abbas, Abdullah II amid Israel talks push

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah II separately met Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday amid pressure for the Palestinians to resume direct peace talks with Israel.

Abbas and Abdullah did not issue statements after the meetings. The two leaders also held talks at Cairo airport before leaving the country, the official MENA news agency said.

The visits came two days after Abbas met US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, whose administration is pressuring the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations with Israel.

A Palestinian official spoke of progress in the meeting with Mitchell and said Washington was preparing an invitation for direct talks.

Abbas has since May been holding US-mediated indirect talks with Israel, making face-to-face negotiations conditional on an Israeli freeze on settlement building on Palestinian land and on a time frame for the peace process.

Mitchell said after Tuesday's meeting with Abbas that US mediators had begun to "seriously study" the Palestinian proposals.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is ready to enter direct negotiations, suspended during Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza from December 2008-January 2009, but without conditions.

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