Rice to brief sceptical Egyptians on peace meeting

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CAIRO, Oct 16 (Reuters) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Egypt today to brief sceptical Egyptian leaders on US plans for a West Asia peace conference in November.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said the conference must have an outcome assured in adavance and his foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said on Monday it might be necessary to think about postponing it.

Aboul Gheit said Egypt was unhappy about attempts by some people in Israel to limit the goals of the the US initiative.

''Failure to stand up to such attempts must lead to serious thought about postponing the meeting to a more appropriate time,'' he said in a statement.

Rushing into a meeting without agreement on a substantial document could damage the chances for a just settlement in the West Asia, he added.

Syria and Saudi Arabia have also spoken sceptically about the meeting and analysts say the United States has left much of the preparatory work until the last minute.

Rice will have talks with Mubarak, Aboul Gheit and Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, US officials said.

She flew to Cairo from Israel, where she tried to push Israelis and Palestinians toward a joint document addressing the key elements of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

REUTERS GL BD1425

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