Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called on Israel to resume peace talks with the Palestinians where they broke off more than a year ago, warning that the peace process "can't take another failure."
In an interview published Sunday, Mubarak urged Israel to respond positively to the renewed push for peace and resume talks where they left off. "It is unreasonable and unacceptable to start from zero," Mubarak told the Armed Forces newspaper. "I told (Israel) that ... settlements are eating away Palestinian land and must stop immediately."
According to the AP, Mubarak said he was optimistic that U.S. efforts would bring the two sides back to the table and would usher in wider regional talks to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict. "The region is rife with crises, conflicts and tension," Mubarak said. "The Middle East will remain a region of instability in the absence of a peaceful and just settlement to the Palestinian issue. The situation is critical, and the peace process ... can't take another failure."
Mubarak urged Israel to "reconsider" the way it deals with the Palestinians and Arabs to ensure a return to "normal" relations in the region. "Israel must take a big step like the total halt to settlement and achieving tangible results in peace negotiations before talking of any Arab gestures, initiatives or step toward it," the Egyptian leader conveyed.