Egypt's Foreign Minister Amr Moussa said the Middle East peace process "as we have known it is finished" because of Israel's stand on the bloodletting in the Palestinian territories, in an interview published Tuesday.
But Israel swiftly dismissed the remarks, saying Moussa did not reflect the official position of Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace deal with the Jewish state in 1979.
In the interview with the Beirut daily As-Safir, Moussa said: "The peace process as we have known it is finished because of the attitude of Israel towards the Intifada (Palestinian uprising)."
"We should not succumb to any pressure and we should not go back to the mechanism of previous negotiations under any pretext," he added.
"Nobody among the Arabs and Palestinians will accept a return to the negotiating table under the same terms as before," said Moussa.
"The priority now must be to support the Palestinian people and their resistance to Israeli occupation and to establish new ground rules before embarking on a new round of negotiations," the foreign minister said.
But Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's security advisor Danny Yatom said that on many occasions Moussa's comments did not reflect the official position of the Egyptian government or President Hosni Mubarak.
"Moussa's remarks about the peace process do not tally with what President Mubarak said at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit backing the continuation of the peace process, nor the efforts deployed at the Cairo (Arab) summit this weekend to moderate the resolutions adopted there," Yatom told Israel public radio.
Israel on Saturday hailed Mubarak's calls to work together in order to save the peace process at the Cairo summit, where Arab leaders strongly condemned Israel over the unrest but stopped short of steps to punish the Jewish state – BEIRUT (AFP)
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