President Hosni Mubarak said Monday it was "right" to shun Israeli products, but stopped short of supporting popular calls for a boycott of US products to protest Israel's crackdown on the Palestinians.
"The people are right to boycott their (Israeli) goods, but a boycott of European or American goods must be considered in a wider and more general context," Information Minister Safwat al-Sherif quoted Mubarak as saying.
Mubarak did not rule out the possibility of banning certain foreign goods but spoke as if the matter was not a reality. "We have to discuss how it would affect our exports to the American market and whether we will boycott spare parts, equipment and planes or select some products over others," the Egyptian president said.
Egyptian demonstrators have demanded a boycott of US and other western products to protest what they claim is US backing for Israel's bloody 10-week-old crackdown on the Palestinians which has left over 300 dead.
Top state-appointed Egyptian clerics have recently backed their demands. But Mubarak said Egypt should consider the effects of a boycott on local production, which relies on basic imported products to operate.
"The principle of boycott is a double-edged sword," Sherif quoted Mubarak as telling members of his ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) who won parliamentary seats in last month's elections. "We must make the right decision before deciding to boycott American goods," he said. — (AFP, Cairo)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )