The Talks Before the Talks

OFTEN THE TOUGHEST PART OF NEGOTIATING IS JUST GETTING to the table. Egypt and Israel engaged in some behind-the-scenes discussions last week in an effort to keep this week's Middle East peace talks on track. According to a Western diplomatic source, the Egyptians learned of Israeli Defense Force plans to enter Lebanon for a week-long siege on Hizballah bases. Egyptian officials believed that if the Israelis went through with such a plan, it would strengthen Arab opposition to the peace talks and derail negotiations. Late Wednesday night Osama El-Baz, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's troubleshooter and confidant, arrived in Israel with a...

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