Mubarak: Arab states to normalize ties with Israel just after peace deal
Arab nations would recognize Israel and normalize ties with it after a just and comprehensive Middle East peace is achieved, but not before, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said. In an interview with the Cairo-based daily al-Ahram on Monday, Mubarak, in Washington for talks with the American administration, said the Arab experience since the 1991 Madrid peace conference "did not encourage" taking steps towards normalisation with Israel.
"I affirmed to (U.S.) President (Barack) Obama in Cairo that the Arab initiative offers recognition of Israel and normalisation with it after, and not before, achieving a just and comprehensive peace," Mubarak was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "I told him that some Arab states which had mutual trade representation offices with Israel could consider reopening those offices if Israel commits to stopping settlement (construction activities) and resumes final status negotiations with the Palestinian Authority where they left off with Olmert's government," Mubarak added.
Asked about possible Egyptian participation in an extended American "defence umbrella" referred to in July by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a response to a nuclear Iran, Mubarak replied Egypt would not be part of it as it would not allow foreign soldiers or experts on its land.
Mubarak also dismissed speculation that he was planning to dissolve parliament. "I have no reasons today that would raise the necessity for dissolving parliament," Mubarak conveyed.