President Mubarak has refused to host the kick-off of direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians in Sinai's resort city of Sharm al-Sheikh.
"If US President [Barack] Obama wants to come, he's more than welcome. But as Egypt's president, I can't launch the negotiations without the presence of the highest officials of all parties, including the American party," President Hosni Mubarak reportedly said.
Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Suleiman Awad said Mubarak welcomed Obama's offer to host the talks in Washington.
"If Egypt was to host the direct talks in Sharm al-Sheikh on a presidential level, it would have invited all four international parties, including the American President, and the European Union, especially since it is the biggest sponsor of the Palestinian Authority in its quest to build capacities and institutions," Awad added.
Awad said Obama cannot guarantee success in the negotiations.
"Egypt will focus on rendering the atmosphere convenient for the direct negotiations since they stopped with the government of [former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Barack," Awad said of Egypt's role.
In his recent meeting with French President Nicholas Sarkozy in Paris, Mubarak expressed hope that the Amercian administration, as well as Israeli and Palestinian parties, will seize the opportunity to establish an independent Palestinian state and implement measures to ensure security for the region. During a joint press conference, Mubarak said Egypt had exerted its best effort to encourage Palestinians and Israelis, as well as international and regional parties, to push forward with the peace process.
Meanwhile, Secretary-General of Arab League Amr Moussa said he had little hope that direct peace talks between Israel and Palestine, scheduled to start Thursday, will be successful.
"We are hoping that talks will succeed but we are all very pessimistic about the viability of the peace process because of the past experience," Moussa told Reuters in an interview following a conference in Slovenia. He added that Obama's sponsorship of talks was the only reason to hope for success.
US-based North American Egyptian Organization Coalition, in collaboration with the Egyptian National Association for Change, held a press conference Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington in response to Obama’s invitation to Mubarak.
Coalition Vice President Mokhtar Kamel said several figures of both organizations will attend the conference including Egyptian activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, program manager of Voices for a Democratic Egypt Maria Deton, head of People's Rights Association Omar Afifi, and NAC's Dina Darwish.
Kamel noted that the coalition includes nine disparate organizations that share a common vision towards democracy and justice in Egypt. The conference will focus on protesting against direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis and criticizing both Egyptian and Jordanian roles, Kamel added.
Kamel said pro-Palestinian groups will organize protests in Washington D.C.'s Dupont Circle on 3 September.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.