The Israel withdrawal from southern Lebanon constitutes a "significant advance" in the Middle East peace process, Egyptian President Hosni Moubarak said during an official trip to Spain Monday, according to AFP.
Speaking at a gala dinner hosted by Spanish King Juan Carlos at the royal palace, Mubarak was quoted by the agency as saying he hoped that the troop pull-out would be followed by "other similar advances on the path to peace and stability" in the Middle East.
He called for "an Israeli retreat from the Golan Heights, the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state and a solution to the question of Jerusalem in all the political and religious aspects".
At a joint press conference with his Spanish counterpart following the two leaders' meeting, Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa said that the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is determined to declare the independent Palestinian state next September, adding that the proposed state should be real and efficient, reported Kuwaiti news agency (KUNA).
Moussa called on Israel "to play a positive role that paves the way for its full future membership in the Middle East by taking a positive position regarding Palestinian statehood,"
Spanish foreign minister Joseph Pique voiced his country's readiness during the conference, to make everything possible for pushing forward the Arab-Israeli peace process, adding that a solution should be reached "as soon as possible" at the Palestinian-Israeli track, but he added that this requires flexibility and courage from all parties concerned.
The Egyptian President also praised Spain, which hosted the 1991 international peace conference launching the peace process, for its continuing "active role" in the region.
Mubarak arrived in Spain on Monday, accompanied by Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa and several other ministers, for his second official visit to the country. He will leave on Wednesday - (Several Sources)
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