Foreign Minister Moshe Arens met Monday with Egypt's ambassador to Israel, one day after Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir welcomed a proposed visit to Israel by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Arens, installed as foreign minister Friday in the new coalition government, met for about 30 minutes with Ambassador Mohammed Basiouni and discussed "bilateral issues and the general peace process," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.The spokesman, pointing out that Arens' first meeting with an ambassador to Israel was with Egypt's representative, said it reflected "the importance we attached to our relations with Egypt and to the positive initiative Egypt could make to the peace process."
Shamir told Israel Television's Arabic-language program Sunday he would unveil a peace plan in the "coming days and weeks," apparently along the lines of the Egyptian-Israeli Camp David peace accords.
Shamir, sounding optimistic about the outcome of a possible meeting with Mubarak, said, "I am convinced that if we meet, we will reach positive results."
Mubarak and Shamir have never met before, although the Egyptian leader visited Jerusalem as vice president to President Anwar Sadat, on his historic trip to Jerusalem in 1977. That visit led to the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, the only such accord between Israel and an Arab nation.
Sadat was slain in 1981 by opponents of the peace treaty as well as his domestic policies.
No invitation has yet been sent to Mubarak to visit Israel.
When asked whether a Mubarak-Shamir summit was discussed, the Egyptian ambassador told Israel Radio, "No, no. This is the first meeting, just to congratulate him (Arens) and also we speak only in the guidelines and not with details."
Shamir spokesman Yosi Achimeier denied the prime minister was trying to counter recent political gains by the Palestine Liberation Organization, including recognition by more than 30 countries of an independent Palestinian state in the Israeli-occupied territories recently declared by the Palestine National Council, or parliament-in-exile.