Mubarak Starts European Tour in Wake of US Attacks
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrives Sunday in France, on the first leg of a tour that will also take him to Italy and Germany for talks on the latest developments in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the US.
In France, Mubarak will meet his counterpart, Jacques Chirac, for a one-on-one- meeting to be later joined by senior officials from both sides, reported the Egyptian Gazette newspaper.
Chirac on Thursday reported to Mubarak by telephone on his trip to the US, the first by a foreign leader since the September 11 suicide hijacking attacks on New York and Washington.
Mubarak will also confer with French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.
The repercussions of the tragic events in the US are expected to top the Egyptian leader's talks in the three countries.
Mubarak has renewed his proposal for convening an international UN-sponsored conference to work out a binding anti-terror pact.
Mubarak and Chirac see eye-to-eye on the necessity of "bilateral, Arab and European endeavors to grapple with terrorism," said an Egyptian diplomat Saturday.
"This issue bears on the future, stability and economies of all these countries," Ali Maher, Egypt's ambassador to Paris, told Egyptian TV.
He added that Cairo and Paris shared identical views that fighting terrorism had to be "rational and without haste."
In a related development, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf telephoned Mubarak to discuss his country's position in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States, Egypt's state MENA news agency reported late Saturday.
Musharraf "informed Mr. Mubarak of the current situation in Pakistan and his clear position against all forms of terrorism," the report said, cited by AFP.
The leaders also discussed how the international community was responding to the hijacked jetliner attacks, and Washington's campaign to build a global anti-terrorism coalition to retaliate against them, it said.
Pakistan is at the center of diplomatic activity aimed at persuading the ruling Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan to hand over former Saudi national Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the September 11 attacks.
Musharraf announced last week that he would support possible military action against Afghanistan, even though his country and Saudi Arabia are the only two nations that still recognize the Taliban regime.
Mubarak has agreed on the need to cooperate with the international community to fight against terrorism, but has said he has not seen any proof of bin Laden being "the brains" behind the terrorist attacks – Albawaba.com
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