Mubarak: Arafat can't be ignored
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in remarks published on Thursday that sidelining Palestinian President Yasser Arafat could threaten a new U.S.-led initiative to bring peace to the Middle East.
Mubarak added new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas should secure domestic support before traveling abroad to discuss implementing a plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace released by the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations on Wednesday.
Mubarak said anybody who ignored Arafat, also known as Abu Ammar, would be making a mistake because of his status as Palestinian leader. "Whoever wants to thwart efforts to solve the problem will do so by distancing Abu Ammar from the issue," Mubarak said in the comments carried by the official Middle East News Agency.
The U.S. ambassador to Cairo, David Welch, told Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher on Thursday that Washington expected Egypt to help implement the peace plan, a U.S. embassy statement said.
Mubarak said Abbas should not rush to visit Washington. "He must establish his foundations domestically first, and win the confidence of his people. After that he can start to make his moves," Mubarak said when asked if a trip by Abbas to Washington would help the peace plan's implementation. (Albawaba.com)
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