Middle East Contemplating the Next Step

In interviews with TIME editors, Mubarak and Hussein urge George Bush to take charge of jump-starting peace negotiations

Now that the U.S. is talking to Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, what should the next step be? For Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Hussein, two moderates whose unofficial alliance is seen by the U.S. as a key to peace in the region, the answer is obvious -- and familiar: get the U.S. to budge Israel.

In interviews last week with TIME managing editor Henry Muller and chief of correspondents John Stacks, the Arab leaders each emphasized that the incoming Bush Administration should make the Middle East a top priority and must persuade (a polite word for "pressure") Israel's...

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