Arafat discusses Mideast peace 'ideas' in Cairo


Palestinian leader Mr Yasser Arafat had talks in Cairo today on "ideas" exchanged between Egypt and the United States earlier this month to find a way out of the crisis in the Middle East - ideas which are still being kept under wraps.

Mr Arafat told reporters after the talks there was a "global consensus on the need to implement existing agreements," referring to a US-brokered ceasefire accord and the Mitchell recommendations for exiting the 11-month-old spiral of violence with Israel which has left around 740 people dead.

He had stopped off briefly at Cairo airport on his way home from an Asian tour for talks with Egyptian President Mr Hosni Mubarak's top political adviser Mr Osama al-Baz on his recent mission to Washington.

Mr Baz said his meeting with Mr Arafat covered "the dangers which surround the peace process and which will get worse if the international community does not intervene firmly."

He warned the situation would deteriorate further "if the United States does not stop Israel from claiming that it is the Palestinians who are causing the violence."

Mr Arafat, who headed back to Gaza after his Cairo stop, was returning from an Asian tour which took him to India, Pakistan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bangladesh.