Stage being set for Egyptian -Syrian summit
Egypt-Regional, Politics, 11/26/2001
An Egyptian official said arrangements are under way to hold an Egyptian -Syrian summit, whose date has yet to be set.
Osama AL-Baz, President Hosni Mubarak's Political Advisor, told MENA that his current visit to Damascus was meant to build on some points taken up by Information Minister Safwat AL-Sherif during a recent visit.
The official added that his meeting with Syrian President Bashar AL-Assad had provided a chance to discuss Afghanistan and the situation in the Middle East.
"Israel continues to give itself the right to judge the Palestinians' observance of the cease-fire and insists that the cease-fire holds one hundred percent for seven days before any step is taken," he said.
"This means that any minor Palestinian response to anything, it (Israel) would cite pretexts and accuse Palestinians of committing violations."
Al Baz said that had it not been for the Israel pretexts, the recommendations set by the Mitchell committee would have been set into motion a long time ago.
He urged the positioning of foreign monitors between the Palestinians and Israelis and their movement be guaranteed by world powers.
The Egyptian official cited U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's confirmation in a recent address that settlement activities are running counter to the peace process.
"These are among the key points if we were to go in the direction of implementing the Mitchell agreement, notably the pullout of Israeli troops to the pre-September 28, 2000 positions; Israel's handover to the Palestinian authority its dues from customs duties and other sources," said Baz.
"Should this be fulfilled, we will enter in four months' time into the stage of negotiations on the final status of the occupied lands," he said.
He cited growing world interest in helping resolve the Middle East problem.
"After Powell's statements, they (the Americans) are supposed to activate their efforts and join hands with other powers," noted Baz.
Dr. Baz said he believed that the Israelis would get engaged in the peacemaking process because they "could not defy the US." But he did not rule out Israeli dilatory tactics.
"If there are good intentions, it is possible to reach an agreement in a space of six to nine months.
The basic problem is that Sharon does not want negotiations to start because he knows that if they started, they would continue," he added.
Baz said that as long as the Palestinians were observing their obligations, Israel had no right to backtrack on its commitments.
"Otherwise (negotiations) would move in a vicious circle," he warned.
He urged the U.S. to join hands with the EU heavily engaged in the Middle East peace process.
Baz pointed to Russia's conviction that failure to make progress in the Middle East peacemaking would presage dire consequences.
Citing chances for making progress in regional peace, Baz said that possibilities would have been better if Sharon had not been in power.
"But if there is a serious international move, I think Israel would have no option but to join in and go ahead," he added.
On Afghanistan, Baz urged that the afghan government would be independent and inclusive of all ethnic groups.
"This government should make sure that Afghanistan would not be shelter for terrorists and powers acting against their governments."
He added that rebuilding Afghanistan would require huge funds and years" because the country is fully destroyed."
He reiterated Egypt's demand that the us-led military campaign would not be expanded to include any Arab country.
"We see no justification for touching any Arab country.
"All Arab countries have condemned terrorism. Punishment should be limited to the groups that have been proved to be involved in terrorist operations," he said.
The official called on the world community to show conviction that Middle East instability would make Arabs lose hope in likelihood of peaceful co-existence.
Islam rejects all forms of extremism
Baz calls on Israel to give up its nuclear program
Egypt seeks ME free from mass destruction Weapons
Please add a link on your webiste pointing to ArabicNews.com and bookmark ArabicNews.com & subscribe to our daily email news bulletin.
| Advertise on ArabicNews.com. MyFlowers.com sold more than $2700 of flowers in one month advertising on ArabicNews.com! Make your company, and products a success. Special rate for new and small business. Inquire!Advertising Info