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Mubarak, Christopher See Positive Steps Toward Middle East Peace

Washington, July 30 (RFE/RL) -- Visiting Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher say positive steps towards peace have been taken in the Middle East since Israel's new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office.

Nicholas Burns, U.S. State Department spokesman, says the Middle East peace process was the focus of yesterday's talks between Christopher and Mubarak. He quoted Christopher as calling the one-hour meeting "excellent."

Egypt plays an important role in the peace process. Burns said that "important diplomatic discussions are under way" on all the major aspects of the peace negotiations.

Christopher is pleased that the Arab countries are keeping their doors open to the Israeli government, he said.

Another topic on the agenda was Egypt's purchase of SCUD missiles from North Korea. The United States is looking into the issue to see whether the arms deal violates international and U.S. non-proliferation restrictions. That determination has not been made.