Arab ministers to meet ahead of Annapolis talks

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CAIRO, Nov 12 (Reuters) Arab foreign ministers will meet in Cairo in the last 10 days of November to decide a common Arab position for the West Asia peace meeting the United States is trying to arrange in Annapolis, Arab officials said today.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said President Mahmoud Abbas would attend the meeting in person to brief the Arab ministers on the latest developments in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on a joint document.

''(The aim) is for all of us to contribute in setting out a common Arab vision and strategy and define the Arab position on the (Annapolis) meeting,'' he told reporters at the Arab League.

Israelis and Palestinians have been negotiating for weeks on a document which could form the basis of a new peace strategy to be agreed and announced at the Annapolis conference, expected to be held in late November.

Malki blamed Israel for lack of progress on the document.

''The obstinate side is Israel. We know that full well. That is our fate, that we have to deal with a totally obstinate position on Israel's side,'' he said.

''In spite of that, we still insist that we are committed and eager to negotiate and coordinate with the Israeli side so that we can come up with a document acceptable to both sides and so that we can go to Annapolis,'' he added.

Malki was speaking after talks in Cairo between Abbas and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, who also said a ministerial meeting would take place in late November.

Moussa said it was not yet clear whether Israel was serious about making peace at the Annapolis meeting.

Abbas had talks today with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who later saw visiting European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.


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