Egyptian premier: confrontation with Israel to cost Egypt greatly; asks for $100 billion before going to war
Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Atef Obeid said his country would go to war with Israel if Arab countries stumped up 100 billion dollars to pay for the confrontration.
"If you want to undertake an action and be ready to face up to challenges, you need at least 100 billion dollars," Obeid told the UAE's Al-Ittihad daily Wednesday when asked why Egypt had taken no steps against Israel's military offensive against the Palestinians.
"I told you we want 100 billion dollars," the Egyptian Prime Minister repeated in response to a question why Cairo had not expelled Israel's ambassador to Egypt.
"Let the Arab world give 100 billion dollars from Arab funds deposited around the world. Let it say to Egypt: 'This is a budget for confrontration. This budget is at your disposal. Undertake confrontration,'" he said.
Any confrontation with Israel means a confrontation with the United States, which will cost Egypt greatly, Obeid said on Tuesday. In an interview with the Qatari daily al-Watan, Obeid said that "Egypt has withstood more than any other Arab nation as a result of the Palestinian struggle with Israel."
The Egyptian premier asserted that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat "is a symbol of the Palestinian struggle."
Regarding Iraq, Obeid said any plan to overthrow Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, "our position is clear, we are against any aggression against any Arab leader and there cannot be such a thing as an Arab leader being removed from office by force. This does not comply with any international law."
About Egyptian captives held in Guantanamo, the prime minister denied "that there are discussions with the USA regarding those prisoners." According to him, "the United States does not discuss with us such matters," stressing that Egypt, "in terms of security, cooperates with all nations of the world that are fighting terrorism." "Egypt was the first nation to pay the price for standing in the face of terrorism," Obeid added.
Regarding internal issues, the Egyptian prime minister considered also "the issue of giving the Islamic movement the liberty to establish a political party is baseless and not to the benefit of society," adding that "as soon as religious identity is established, fundamentalism will emerge." (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)