Chirac, Mubarak ‘Very Worried’ by Escalating Middle East Violence
French President Jacques Chirac and his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak said late Friday they were "very worried" by the escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence, reported AFP.
"We are very worried by the escalation of the violence," Chirac told journalists, adding that they hoped the two sides could return to the negotiating table after the violence has been scaled down.
Mubarak arrived in Paris Friday en route to the United States.
Chirac said: "I am very glad that President Mubarak can leave Saturday for the United States to meet American President George Bush, for he will doubtless make Washington hear the voice of competence, wisdom and peace."
Mubarak said he feared that the two sides being enmeshed "in an endless cycle of violence could lead to terrorism, a terrorism whose scale would be very vast."
"The use of violence will lead to even more violence and risks creating a vicious circle of which all the countries in the region, including Israel, will suffer the consequences."
Mubarak said he hoped for "a gradual dropping in the violence, the only condition for the two sides to be able to resume negotiations," the agency quoted him as saying.
Mubarak said that Israel and the Palestinians "must understand that the solution lies in negotiations and not the use of violence."
The Egyptian leader leaves Saturday for the United States and on Monday starts an official visit to Washington, where he will be the first Arab leader to have talks with President George W. Bush.
Prior to his departure, the Egyptian President said that trade and the Palestinian crisis would top his agenda when he visits Washington, reported Reuters, quoting Egypt's MENA news agency.
"Talks in the United States will primarily cover bilateral relations between (our) two countries, investment and the development of the institutions we have," MENA said.
"The other aspect is the Palestinian issue," Mubarak said, noting that it was one of the most important factors holding back regional stability.
"We all heard of the recent (Israeli air) strikes (against the Palestinians) and were shocked by them. We must search for a solution to bring this to an end and resume peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis," Mubarak added.
Mubarak was referring to helicopter missile strikes against Palestinian security targets on Wednesday, which Israel said were in retaliation for Palestinian attacks, including the killing of a Jewish settler's baby and suicide bombings in Israel – Albawaba.com
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