Egypt's warning to Israel
Egypt-Palestine, Politics, 5/11/2002
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher warned Israel of its threats to wage a wide-scale incursion into Gaza Strip, on the borders with Egypt, adding that Israel has seen that its acts of aggression in the West Bank did not achieve any objectives.
Replying to diplomatic reporters' questions at the Foreign Ministry, Maher said there will be no meeting of the initiative committee but instead there will be one between Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal and some ministers in Cairo to brief them on the outcome of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's visit to United States.
On whether Saudi Arabia would share with Egypt and Jordan their reservations on convening an international peace conference, Maher said that convening the conference, as put by Prince Saud Wednesday, is not an objective peruse.
"President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday pointed out that it was not required to add another conference to other conferences, but rather the implementation of all the signed agreements," said Maher.
Maher stressed that Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat was the legitimate and democratically elected President of the Palestinian people and that any attempts to harm him would be an aggression on the Palestinian people and also on any genuine inclination to reach peace.
"We don't want to waste our time on side issues, and if there is a desire in to make serious moves to implement what was agreed upon and go ahead with the peace process, the door is open for more good offices," added Maher in his statements to diplomatic editors.
He said that such proposals must be based on seriousness not on procrastinations and attempts to gain time and continue with the Israeli aggression.
On Arafat's condemnation of the recent suicide operation, Maher said that such condemnation is not new because the Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority have been against targeting civilians, which was expressed by Arafat.
On Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's rejection of Arafat condemnation, Maher said that the Israeli Prime Minister did not want settlement, adding that Sharon had rejected the agreement with Egypt and also rejected the Oslo agreement and has been rejecting everything that would push the peace process forward.
Maher said that the United States, Europe, the United Nations and the Israeli people had a responsibility to shoulder in dealing with the situation.
Those who want peace must convince their government that peace is important as long as their government is democratically elected, in order to go ahead with the peace process in the interest of both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and in the interest of the entire region.
On Sharon's request to Saudi Arabia to stop what he called "supporting Palestinian terrorism", Maher dismissed the request as ridiculous.
On the American stance which refused to condemn Israel at the Security Council, and if the American stance fuelled Arab frustration, Maher said: "When I talked about the frustration I talked about the frustration peoples not politicians".
He said that the right thing to do was the liberation of Arab territories occupied after June 1967 and the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
On the laxity of Europe and its refusal to condemn Israel at the United Nations General Assembly, Maher would not accept dubbing Europe as lax, adding that Europe had stood by the Arabs in many difficult times.
He described the European stance as positive in general, adding that the Arabs must make use of the positive stances and correct the negative ones.
Maher said that the conditions in which the General Assembly convened, plus the latest Tel Aviv explosion, could have affected the voting of European countries at the General Assembly.
On CIA director George Tenet's efforts to help the Palestinian Authority (PA) rehabilitate, Maher said that the PA has the right to reform itself with the help on any party it wants.
On the withdrawal of the United States from the International Criminal Court and its impact on the U.S. credibility, Maher said that every state acts according to its circumstances, with some countries having reservations on some issues related to the court.
Asked about the American warning to Libya and Syria that they would become rogue states if they tried to produce chemical or biological weapons, Maher said the American stance was not binding as far as others were concerned.
On Egyptian-Saudi relations, Maher said that relations between Cairo and Riyadh were very good, adding that his meeting with the Saudi Foreign Minister dealt with conditions in the region and means to support the Palestinian people.
Asked if there was tension in Egyptian-American relations over calls by President George W. Bush on Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan to condemn terrorism and suicide bombings, Maher said he found no tension in relations between the two countries.
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Egypt's Statement at U.N General Assembly on situation in Palestinian territories
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