1967 never to happen again
Egypt-Regional, Politics, 5/24/2001
"What happened in 1967 will never be repeated again, as war does not solve a problem," Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher told a press conference at the close Wednesday of the two-day sixth COMESA summit hosted in Cairo.
Responding to a query on the Israeli Defense Minister's threats, Maher went on to say that Egypt and Syria were not phased by such threats.
"Enough of the silly talk from Israel...now we have to work on the basis of the Egyptian-Jordanian initiative and the Mitchell report...this is what preoccupies me at present," Maher said.
Maher voiced conviction that the US has decided to play an active role, following two messages from President Hosni Mubarak to US President George W. Bush and a telephone call.
"An American envoy will shortly consult with the parties concerned, and may arrive in the region on Thursday," Maher said.
On the Mauritanian Foreign Minister's visit to Israel, at this particular time, Maher said the matter will be taken care of by the Arab League, and that the League's Chief would be making contacts on that score.
"We are not dealing with the Israelis on the basis of their intentions, but we ask them to prove by acts that they really want to realize peace," Maher said.
"What we have seen from the Israeli government so far does not make us (the Arabs), believe it wants to achieve peace or it even has a plan for peace.
"What is clear now is that Israel has a plan to carry on with attacks against the Palestinians. And this is completely unacceptable," he added.
"There is a lot of inaccuracy in Israeli statements nowadays," Maher said, citing Israeli acceptance of the Mitchell commission's report and the refusal at the same time of the main ideas in the report.
"The Israelis never put their words and pledges into action," he added.
Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon gave orders to the Israeli army to cease-fire but still the Palestinians were still under attack.
About the EU's role in the peace process. Maher said EU Foreign and Security Affairs representative Javier Solana stressed the EU's readiness to contribute to efforts aiming at resuming the peace process.
Maher pointed out that Solana was a member of the Mitchell Commission.
"Egypt welcomes this positive direction by the EU," Maher said.
About Arab moves in light of the coming Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) meetings in Doha; Maher said "The Arab stance is clear as has been made clear by the Arab follow-up committee. The Arab countries will go to the OIC meeting with this stance."
He denied that the EU-Egyptian partnership agreement would adversely affect COMESA members.
Maher said the behind-closed door sessions that were held among the COMESA participants underlined the importance of realizing peace and stability and settling all border conflicts.
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