Netanyahu, Mubarak Meet in Cairo

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday that "settlement" construction is preventing the peace process from moving forward, Israel Radio reported on Monday morning.

Netanyahu flew to Cairo late Sunday afternoon and returned several hours later.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said Sunday's discussions were "conducted in a friendly atmosphere" and "were fruitful."

"The president and the prime minister discussed the challenges facing the region and the need for all sides - Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab countries and the international community - to contribute their part to moving the peace process forward," the PMO's statement read.

The meeting was closed to the press and no statement was issued afterward.

Meanwhile, U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who arrived on Saturday, met with President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday.

Peres appeared fully recovered after a night in the hospital brought on by a fainting spell on Saturday evening while he was delivering a speech.

The president thanked Mitchell and others, including Mubarak, who called to express concern for his health.

Netanyahu's meeting with Mitchell, originally set for Monday, was postponed until Tuesday so the prime minister can attend the funeral of Asaf Ramon, son of the late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon.

Asaf Ramon, who died late Sunday afternoon when the F-16 jet fighter he was piloting crashed during a training exercise, will be buried on Monday afternoon.

Mitchell is also slated to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.

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