Egyptian Foreign Minister Heads to New York to Meet Powell
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher departed early Tuesday for New York on a four-day trip to the United States, the official MENA news agency reported.
Maher is scheduled to meet during his trip with US Secretary of State Colin Powell to discuss the possibility of reviving negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and other issues, the report said, cited by AFP.
The Cairo-based daily Al Ahram has said that the two ministers would discuss the mission of the US envoys to the region, William Burns and General Anthony Zinni.
They will also discuss the consequences of the September 11 attacks for the Egyptian economy.
Egypt’s ambassador to Washington Nabil Fahmi told the semi-government paper that Maher’s talks with Powell would precede President George W Bush’s meeting with Israel's hawkish Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, scheduled for December 3.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Thursday he backed the US initiative but insisted it must be followed up by action.
"It is true that we support the US and European declarations about the Palestinian problem, but it is also true that it is necessary to begin the long journey to a settlement and start applying these declarations," he said.
The visit is important "because it comes after the speech by Powell which aimed to breathe life into the peace process that Israeli actions have almost killed," MENA quoted Maher as saying.
Outlining the vision of Bush's administration, Powell's recent policy address urged the Palestinians to stop "violence" and Israel to stop settling on and occupying Palestinian land.
Egypt supports proposals in Powell's policy speech, but Maher has said that Israeli actions, in particular the assassination of Palestinian activists, constitute an "open challenge" to the US initiative, according to AFP – Albawaba.com
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