Mubarak's visit to Washington to focus on Middle East
Egypt-USA, Politics, 5/27/2002
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said President Hosni Mubarak's talks with US President George Bush in Washington next month will focus mainly on settling Palestinian - Israeli problem.
In press statement yesterday, Maher said President Mubarak would explain during the summit Egypt's assessment of the situation in the Middle East.
He said contacts were held and messages were sent to President George Bush and much diplomatic contacts were made, but the most important thing at this juncture is that President Bush listens to an appraisal by President Mubarak.
He said if those who were concerned had listened to Egypt's advice, the situation would have been much better that now.
The Foreign Minister said the visit, comes at an invitation by President George Bush who concluded that the current developments in the region, require listening to President Mubarak's views.
On statements by Israeli officials on the convening of the proposed international conference on peace in the Middle East in Rome next August, the foreign minister said statements made by Israelis should not be taken for granted.
He said the US has not yet made any suggestions about the proposed conference adding that Egypt has not yet received anything that indicates what will be held is a meeting or a conference.
He said the term of a conference is no longer used but the common term is a meeting.
He said information available to Egypt show that the US situation has not yet been crystallized.
He said the visit by the president to Washington comes at an extremely important timing as Israeli attacks against Palestinian people are still going on.
He said efforts are now underway for opening the door before serious negotiations in order to reach a just and comprehensive settlement.
He said it is important at the time when a new international order is taking shape to listen to Egypt's strong voice in the US.
On whether an Egyptian initiative or ideas will be proposed during the
Egyptian-US summit, Maher replied in the negative, adding that Egypt's stances and views were always clear.
Asked whether the Egyptian - American talks would touch on the issue of Egyptians held in US jails since the September 11 attacks, Maher said the issue was already raised via diplomatic channels, adding the visit would primarily focus on settling the Arab-Israeli conflict.
He said Egypt's vision of the current situation is that Israeli should halt its aggression, withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories and honour its pledges.
Maher added that it is important that the US should listen to an elaborate the Egyptian assessment of the current developments.
He pointed out President Mubarak's talks in the US capital will focus on ways of solving the Arab Israeli problem and associated issues.
On accusations by the US to the Sudan, Libya, and Syria of supporting terrorism, the foreign minister said the bill of indictment is an outdated one.
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