Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said in comments published Wednesday that Cairo was not working to convince Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to step down.
"The reports on this issue are completely false. We do not interfere in the affairs of other states, and we do not interfere in the choice of the president of a country, it is for the Iraqi people to decide this," Maher told Al-Mussawar daily.
"If America decided to strike Iraq tomorrow, no one can prevent it, but we are trying to reduce the chances and the pretexts America would use to attack Iraq," Maher was quoted as saying.
In addition, Maher ruled out Egypt granting facilities to countries taking part in a possible war against Iraq, however urged Baghdad to cooperate with Arab countries.
"We are opposed to a strike against Iraq, but Iraq must for its part demonstrate cooperation," he said, stressing he meant "cooperation with Arab countries," and not United Nations weapons inspectors.
"It is strange that at a time that Arab countries are trying to prevent a strike against Iraq, it threatens the Arab countries in a speech addressed to Kuwait." (Albawaba.com)