Egyptian President Gives Bush an Earful as he Arrives for Middle East Talks
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak gave the new US administration an earful on the Middle East conflict and other issues as he arrived in Washington Saturday, hoping to persuade President George W. Bush to resume active regional diplomacy, said AFP.
Bush has repeatedly stated that his administration will not "force peace" in the Middle East, signaling a departure from the aggressive pursuit of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians undertaken by his predecessor, Bill Clinton.
"It requires two willing parties to come to the table to enact a peace treaty that will last," Bush said Thursday.
"This administration won't try to force peace on the parties."
But as Mubarak's plane touched down at Andrews Air Force Base, Newsweek magazine released an interview in which the Egyptian leader openly chastised the US administration for taking a hands-off approach, said the agency.
"The new administration may not have a picture of what's going on," Mubarak told the US weekly, which carried an advance copy of its interview, due on newsstands Monday.
"I'm going to tell them what I feel," added the Egyptian leader.
Mubarak went on to say that the United States "cannot just take its hands off" the situation in the Middle East amid escalating violence.
The Egyptian leader also took the Bush administration to task for its Iraq policy, which involves strikes against Iraqi antiaircraft batteries that US military officials say threaten US and British planes patrolling the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq, AFP added.
Meanwhile, a US official said that the United States looked forward to Mubarak's visit to Washington, according to Egypt Online.
He added that Mubarak would come up with important views following an Arab summit which ended on Wednesday.
“The US is interested to know these views,” he said.
Mubarak held talks in Paris with French President Jacque Chirac on Saturday en route to Washington.
Both leaders were “very concerned” about the deteriorating situation in the Middle East and hoped to find solutions for the stumbling peace process, said reports – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)