Shortly Before Bush Speech: Mubarak Urged U.S. to Intervene
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reminded the United States of its "special responsibility" to the peace process, saying he has twice in the last week urged US President George W. Bush to intervene with Israel to lift the siege on the Palestinians.
In a live speech on Egyptian television, Mubarak said "I have sent two messages to President Bush, since the Israeli invasion on March 29, to urge him to make the maximum effort and to use his diplomatic channels to guarantee an Israeli withdrawal from the reoccupied areas of the Palestinian Authority and to lift the inhuman siege imposed on the Palestinian leader (Yasser Arafat) and his colleagues in Ramallah."
The Egyptian leader spoke shortly before Bush gave his own speech from Washington. Mubarak rejected the Israeli view that Arafat missed an "historic opportunity" by failing to reach an agreement at the go-for-broke Camp David summit in July 2000, convened under the sponsorship of then US president Bill Clinton.
"The Israeli proposal (at Camp David) had drawbacks, especially concerning the total Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories," Mubarak said, without pointing out if he had stated this position to Bush.
The Egyptian president also told Bush of the importance of the US role in bringing the parties back "to the negotiating table to apply the Tenet and Mitchell plans without any change." "I made clear in these two messages the great risks for world peace as well as for the interests of different countries in and outside the region, if Israel pursues its aggressive policies," Mubarak about of his two messages to Washington.
Mubarak warned that Israel is mistaken if it believes it can achieve peace through its current military policies which will only "reinforce the feelings of hatred 300 million Arabs have toward Israel."
However, he said Egypt was committed to the Saudi-sponsored initiative for a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace which was adopted unanimously at an Arab summit in Beirut last week.
Mubarak's speech came as Egypt has in the last week faced daily street protests demanding Egypt and Arab governments take firmer action to stop Israel's massive sweep into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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