Maher blames Israel for ME crisis
Egypt-Israel, Politics, 5/23/2002
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher has blamed the perilous Middle East crisis on "Israel's aggressive acts and deeds" and he warned of the Jewish state's bids to sideline Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
"The international community should shoulder its responsibility for fulfilling a peaceful settlement (in the Middle East) based on the UN resolutions, the international agreements and stances expressed by the US, Europe, Russia and the UN," he told MENA during a stopover in Kuwait late Tuesday.
Scoffing at Israel's terms for a Middle East peace conference, the Egyptian Minister said Israel wanted to choose the name of the gathering, its venue, date and the participants. After all this, it (Israel) comes out to say it favors an interim l0-year settlement thereby allowing tensions, aggression and occupation to drag on. Maher dismissed the Israeli-style peace conference as a farce.
He denied Egypt has been officially notified of an international peace conference suggested by the US.
"Any international peace conference must meet certain requirements to guarantee Israel's withdrawal to the pre September 28, 2000 (areas), That's to say before the eruption of the Palestinian Intifada.
The conference must be held with the participation of all parties, and the legitimacy of President Arafat must not be an issue of question." Maher said and added that Israel is pushing for the exclusion of Syria, Lebanon and Arafat from the envisaged parley. Maher urged that an international conference on Middle East peace must proceed according to relevant terms of peace, including the UN resolutions and the land for-peace formula.
"The aim of the conference should be reaching a comprehensive peace settlement within a specified timeframe," he said.
If these requirements are met, Egypt will have no objection to the convocation of an international peace conference."
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