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Still shaken by the election of a hard-liner to head Israel, the leaders of Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia worked toward a common strategy Friday for their dealings with the Jewish state.

The minisummit convened by Syrian President Hafez Assad was the third involving Arab leaders in the past 10 days since the May 29 election of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israeli prime minister.Netanyahu's tough electoral statements have caused considerable apprehension among Arabs, who fear they could lead to serious, and possibly fatal, setbacks to the peace effort.

Assad met with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, half-brother and designated heir of King Fahd, in his Tishrin Palace.

The three met again Friday evening for three hours and are scheduled to hold a final parley Saturday, officials reported. No statements were expected until then.

The Saudis and Egyptians have indicated that while they are prepared to give Netanyahu time to spell out where he stands on such issues as Jewish settlements, an independent Palestinian state and the Golan Heights, they do not want the peace process to founder.

"We have come here for the sake of peace. . . . We're for peace, not for surrender or submission," Abdullah said.

Egypt's foreign minister, Amr Moussa, said the leaders were prepared to give Netanyahu the benefit of the doubt, but only for "a matter of weeks, not longer."

Moussa said the summit demonstrated the leaders' "common desire to unite the Arabs" and "protect the peace process according to the articles it's based on, primarily land in exchange for peace."