CAIRO: A meeting between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Cairo has been postponed by a day until Wednesday, a presidential source said.
Netanyahu had been due to head to Egypt on Tuesday to discuss with Mubarak Israel’s "intention to move to direct negotiations with the Palestinians."
"The meeting has been postponed until Wednesday," the source told AFP Monday, without elaborating on the reason for the delay.
The source added that Mubarak would be meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday in Cairo.
Israel confirmed the meeting was postponed.
"It has been rescheduled for later this week, possibly Wednesday," an Israeli official told AFP in Jerusalem without adding further details.
For the past two months, Israel and the Palestinians have been engaged in a series of US-backed "proximity talks" which has seen US envoy George Mitchell shuttling between the two sides. Israel says it is now ready for direct talks.
Wednesday’s visit will be Netanyahu’s fifth to Egypt since May last year. The two leaders last met on May 3 this year in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, a few days before the start of the indirect peace talks.
Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in December 2008 when Israel launched a massive 22-day war on Gaza.
Last week, two of Netanyahu’s senior aides travelled to Cairo for talks with Egypt’s intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to prepare for a possible visit by the premier, Israeli media reports said.