October 11 , 2000 Egypt rules out summit unless Israel takes steps
Egypt-Palestine, Politics, 10/11/2000
Egypt said on Wednesday it would not host a four-way summit involving Israel, the Palestinians and the United States unless specific steps were taken by Israel to reduce tension in the region.
''Egypt's stand in this issue is that, before holding a four-way summit, we must make the atmosphere suitable to ensure it will be successful. This atmosphere will not be achieved except through certain steps," Egyptian Information Minister Safwat el-Sherif told reporters "First, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian territories. Second, the cessation and withdrawal of (Israeli) warnings and threats directed at the Palestinian Authority or any Arab country," he said after a meeting between President Hosni Mubarak and the European Union's chief foreign policy representative, Javier Solana.
Israel would also have to agree not to allow any other inflammatory visit to the Al-Harem Al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) in Jerusalem, such as the tour by rightwing opposition politician Ariel Sharon last month which sparked the surge of violence.
Sherif said Israel would also have to agree to the establishment of an international committee to investigate the clashes, and agree to return to the negotiating table to resolve pending issues in Middle East peace efforts such as the future of Jerusalem.
"It is important that Israel accept these steps. If it does not, then Egypt is utterly sorry, but it will not hold a four-way summit on its land" Sherif said, adding that US President Bill Clinton was still welcome to come to Egypt at any time independently of any summit.
He said Mubarak would have welcomed a four-way summit if it had the potential for "serious results", but did not want to be part of a meeting which would be nothing but a media circus.
"(Mubarak) urges Israeli leaders to be wise and to review the situation carefully to ensure that the region does not explode." the Minister said.
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