Egypt to recognize the Palestinian State
Egypt-Israel, Politics, 6/26/2000
Israeli President Ezer Weizman was great help to peace since 1977 and one of the key figures who have played a benevolent role for peace between late President Anwar el Sadat and late Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, President Hosni Mubarak said.
President Mubarak paid tribute to all efforts Weizman has exerted and continues to exert as the President of Israel towards comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
Mubarak was speaking at a press conference after a session of talks with the visiting Israeli President on Sunday.
"Weizman has played a pacifying and intermediary role," President Mubarak said of the man whom he has known since 1977.
Asked about prospects for progress on the peace track or a trilateral summit despite differences over Jerusalem and refugees and the American administration's occupation with the presidential elections, President Mubarak said that the issue of a trilateral summit of the American, Palestinian and Israeli leaders had not been settled yet. But efforts for holding it are underway, he added.
"I think negotiations are underway, I hope that the gap would be narrowed as much as possible and I hope the trilateral summit is held to reach a solution, at least on the broadlines of existing problems," Mubarak said.
The matter now is very complicated, one that cannot be easily settled overnight, there are problems over Jerusalem, refugees and the land, he said of the slow-paced peace process since Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak assumed power.
"I think they are currently negotiating and I hope they can reach a certain compromise to keep the peace process going, and this requires time. I have been encouraging Barak since the start, I try to help him as much as I can and the peace process must continue," president Mubarak added.
On the delicate Israeli coalition and whether it would be possible to establish peace or normal relations with Israel's neighbours given such conditions, Weizman said that in a democracy like Israel, coalition problems are normal as it would be very difficult to unify people of different ideologies and beliefs.
Israel has problems, they do not weaken the government, but they mean that early elections might be held, the president added.
The Israeli government may emerge out of this stronger, he said.
At present, Israel does have problems that it must attend to, and it has been through many problems before the establishment of the state of Israel 53 years ago, he added.
He expressed belief over the possibility of transcending all differences and having a government, united as much as possible, on the peace process.
This is what Barak is trying to do right now, Weizman said.
President Mubarak said Egypt will recognize the Palestinian state should it be declared on September 13.
"In any case we will recognize it," he affirmed.
The president was responding to a question on whether Egypt would recognize the Palestinian state should it be declared before Palestinians and Israelis reach agreement.
The two Leaders were asked over prospects for the resumption of the Syrian-Israeli peace track in the near future after the death of Syrian President Hafez al Assad on June 10 and the nomination of his Bashar al-Assad as the next leader of Syria.
"It would be very difficult to reach a conclusion in this respect. President Mubarak and I have talked about this issue."
"I think that the next Syrian President, being young, academic, not originally from the military ranks and a man who is used to taking care of the sick, must be a kind man," Weizman said.
Bashar al Assad will be an excellent president, Mubarak said. Everything reported on the frailness of the Syrian regime are mere false rumours, he added.
The Syrian regime will continue and Bashar al-Assad is ready to resume peace talks on the same principles set by his late father, he said.
Bashar will be persistent and firm and "we expect him to succeed in the peace process," Mubarak added.
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