Egyptian delegation under Baz meets Powell Friday
Egypt-USA, Politics, 8/16/2001
The high level Egyptian political delegation, now visiting Washington, will meet Secretary of State Colin Powell Friday for discussing the Egyptian standpoint on ways of breaking the current deadlock of the situation in the Middle East and the risks of the Israeli security, and political escalation.
This comes at the time when Israel is continuing to mass up tanks on the outskirts of Bethlehem and Beit Sahur, which are subjected to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also threatened to storm Beit Gala.
Members of the delegation will also hold intensive meetings with senior US Administration officials to expound the Egyptian point of view on the deteriorating situation in the Middle East.
The delegation is in Washington under directives of President Hosni Mubarak.
The delegation, which arrived in Washington Tuesday on a four-day visit, includes Dr. Osama Al Baz, Political Advisor to President Mubarak, ambassador Maged Abdul Fattah, President Mubarak's Secretary for Information, and Egypt's ambassador in Washington Nabil Fahmy.
Members of the Egyptian delegation were scheduled to meet Wednesday with the adviser of Vice President Dick Cheney and the official in charge of Middle East Affairs at the US National Security Council to discuss future steps in the Middle East area.
Members of the delegation were also to hold a dialogue Wednesday with experts in Middle East affairs at the Nixon centre to present the facts of the situation in the Middle East and the dangers of Israeli escalation, at the security and political levels, and to stress the Egyptian point of view that it is necessary to proceed with the political and security tracks simultaneously in order to overcome the crisis.
The schedule of the Egyptian delegation Thursday includes a meeting with foreign correspondents and journalists concerned with Middle East affairs in Washington.
Members of the delegation will also meet leaders of Arab and Jewish organisations in the United States.
Members of the Egyptian delegation will conclude their meetings on Friday by holding separate talks in the morning with US Secretary of State Colin Powell a meeting that had been scheduled for Thursday and with National Security adviser Condoleezza Rice.
They will also meet with Egyptian and Arab journalists in Washington.
Upon their arrival in Washington Tuesday, members of the Egyptian delegation met with the deputy of the US National Security Council adviser prior to meeting other officials of the administration.
The White House said that consultations of the US administration with members of the high-level Egyptian delegation would focus on "future steps in the area".
A spokesman of the US National Security Council said that President Hosni Mubarak and US President George Bush "agreed that high-level consultations between the United States and Egypt will be beneficial" pointing out that Egypt is an important partner of the United states and play a vital role in the area.
The State Department spokesman said that Egyptian -American talks will cover a number of bilateral and regional issues between Egypt and the United States, including the present situation between the Palestinians and Israelis.
The spokesman said Tuesday night: "I believe you know that we, for a long time, appreciate the important role played by Egypt with the parties concerned. We welcome the opportunity of holding consultations with Egyptian friends on the present situation".
The spokesman added: "we have always appreciated and supported the Egyptian role and the contribution that could be made by the Egyptians and Jordanians."
The spokesman was replying to a question on whether consultations to be held by the Egyptian delegation with the American administration will deal with the possible building on the Egyptian- Jordanian initiative which calls for pursuing the political and security sides simultaneously.
The spokesman said he did not know precisely what the Egyptian -American talks will tackle.
He pointed out that what is presented to the Palestinian and Israeli sides in the plan drafted by CIA Director George Tenet for a ceasefire can help to carry out recommendations of the Mitchell Fact-Finding Commission.
Commenting on the visit of the Egyptian delegation to Washington, the spokesman said: President Mubarak and President Bush talked about the benefit of holding meetings at a high level and I believe that the visit takes places within this "context".
But the spokesman did not give details on contacts made between President Mubarak and President Bush.
The visit of the Egyptian delegation attracted the attention of American observers in Washington because it is part of the international and regional moves to persuade the American administration to undertake a more effective role to stem the bloodshed in the Middle East.
An expert at the centre of strategic and international studies in Washington said that the United States had made repeated calls to stop violence and repeating them again will not lead to anything new.
The expert called on the American administration to present definite demands to the Palestinian and Israeli sides and not stop at criticizing both sides publicly.
The administration should stop high-level contacts, assistance and arms exports.
This is an indirect reference that it is necessary that the Bush administration apply more pressure on Israel that receives American aid to the tune of 2.7 billion dollars annually, the largest American assistance to any country in the world. In addition, Tel Aviv receives the most advanced American weapons.
The American administration has so far been resisting attempts to get it involved in a more active way in the present situation in the area.
Washington insists that it is up to the Palestinian and Israeli sides to break the cycle of violence before any other steps.
The US Secretary of State hinted recently that the American administration would be able to present proposals, some time in the future, to deal with the situation in the area on condition that violence stopped first.
The American condition that violence should stop before anything else is in contradiction with the Arab and Egyptian point of view that it is necessary to proceed with the security and political levels in order to get out of the present crisis gripping the area.
Egypt urges US to move for ending deterioration
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High level Egyptian delegation in Washington for consuiltations on ME issues
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