Egypt’s Foreign Minister Rules out Sharm el Sheikh Summit
By Nabil Al Mulhem
Egypt’s foreign minister Amr Moussa ruled out an Israeli-Palestinian summit in Sharm El-Sheikh and said an Arab summit is the most important event now.
Moussa held talks with Syrian president Bashar Assad during a brief visit to Damascus to discuss the current crisis in the Middle East.
He told reporters “no Sharm El-Sheik meeting was planned, the next important event is the Arab summit.”
US President Bill Clinton has called for a summit between the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to be attended by Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak in an attempt to bring an end to the bloodshed in the Palestinian lands.
Speaking at a joint news conference with his Syrian counterpart Farouq Shara, Moussa said “the peace process has reached an impasse, a state of collapse,” adding that “Damascus was not annoyed by Israel’s threats, neither was Beirut, every action has a reaction, and threats do not scare Arab states; Arabs are not confused, and have a sound and solid Arab stand, and understand the limits of their power.”
Moussa said he carried a message from Mubarak to Assad dealing with inter-Arab coordination during the current crucial phase.
“We had an important discussion regarding the (Arab) summit,” he added.
He spoke of a state of alert in the Arab world due to the gravity of the situation and the challenges the Arabs are facing particularly with regard to the peace process.
Shara blamed Israel for the escalation of violence in Palestine and southern Lebanon. “We didn’t hear any threat from any other side, the Israeli threats will only strengthen the Arabs’ steadfastness. There is no fear on the Arab streets, neither in Damascus nor in Beirut” he added.
He warned that they “now stand at a dangerous juncture, and Israel will pay a heavy price for all the aggressive acts it had committed”. Share’ praised current international moves to ease the explosive situation and said they were important but “words should be turned into deeds” he was quoted as saying and demanded that the United States and Israel hold Israel responsible for the consequences of the current developments.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)