Mubarak in an interview with al-Arabiya: religious parties are prohibited,all can join parliamentary as individuals
Egypt-Regional, Politics, 1/17/2005
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak called on Israel and the new Palestinian leadership to return to the negotiating table and provide a chance to achieve peace in the Middle East.
In an interview with the AL Arabiya Satellite Channel aired on Sunday, Mubarak said achieving peace in the region would improve living conditions of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.
President Mubarak said that peace could only be achieved through a real desire by the two sides, pointing out that violence would only end by sitting at the negotiating table.
The President renewed Egypt's' support to Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) in his capacity as the elected leader of the Palestinian people to achieve peace and security in the region.
On conditions in Iraq, President Mubarak called on all Iraqi factions to take part in the elections due to be held on January 30, expressing hope that the Sunnis would also take part in the elections and be represented.
The President warned that failure to participate in the elections would make conditions in Iraq very difficult; pointing out that the elections would bring a legitimate government writing the constitution.
Mubarak spoke about his efforts during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and his attempts to convince ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein not to invade the Gulf state.
He hailed the support given by late President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to Egypt in the various domains.
The President pointed out that Sheikh Zayed worked to increase his country's investments in Egypt and promote the development process even during the severing of Egyptian-UAE relations.
Mubarak described Sheikh Zayed as an honest and outspoken leader, recalling that he met with Sheikh Zayed for the first time in Alexandria.
The Egyptian leader said he met Sheikh Zayed during a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference in Kuwait despite the severing of relation's between the two countries.
Mubarak said he had read statements by Sheikh Zayed in AL Ahram newspaper that the Arabs did not isolate Egypt after it had signed a peace agreement with Israel but rather they isolated themselves, which angered some Arab leaders.
The President said he met with Sheikh Zayed during Kuwait conference and talked with him during speeches Egypt and Syria delivered at the conference.
Mubarak said that Sheikh Zayed had invited him to a meeting in the UAE, adding that he told the late UAE leader that he did not want to make UAE relations with other Arab countries strained as a result of the meeting, but he insisted on welcoming him.
Back to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Mubarak said he told Saddam to get out of Kuwait otherwise a war would break out, but the former Iraqi leader did not listen to Egyptian advice.
The President said that Saddam told him during a meeting in Baghdad that he had no intention to invade Kuwait, but he did not keep his promise.
Mubarak said that while he was on route from Baghdad to Kuwait, he was surprised by statements by then Iraqi foreign Minister Tarek Aziz that Mubarak had not come to Iraq to discuss the Iraqi-Kuwaiti problem but to discuss bilateral relations.
The President said he had received a telephone contact from the Saudi leaders on the importance of convincing Saddam not to invade Kuwait.
Mubarak also said he contacted late Syrian President Hafez AL Assad to convince him to mediate to resolve the Iraqi-Kuwaiti differences and try to improve the strained Iraqi-Syrian relations, but when the crisis erupted matters became more complicated.
President Mubarak said he had agreed to a request by Sheikh Zayed to dispatch troops to liberate Kuwait, pointing out that the Egyptian troops had gone for liberating Kuwait not for invading it in accordance with the joint defense pact.
Back to Sheikh Zayed's help to Egypt, Mubarak said that Sheikh Zayed had never rejected any request by Egypt, pointing out that a number of mega projects carried out in Egypt were named after Sheikh Zayed.
He said that Sheikh Zayed had urged UAE investors to invest in Egypt and that he founded Sheikh Zayed city on the Cairo- Alexandria desert road and also financed a major hospital for treating the poor.
Mubarak pointed out that Sheikh Zayed also financed major agricultural projects in Egypt, especially in Toskha where he paid million of pounds for carrying out the project.
On Egypt's relations with Arab countries after the October 1973 war, Mubarak said Egyptian-Arab relations were excellent, pointing out to the support Egypt had received from Saudi Arabia and the UAE after the war.
On the Egyptian-Israeli peace, Mubarak said that Arabs wasted many chances for achieving peace, pointing out that Sadat's trip to Camp David was a good card for Arabs to achieve peace.
He said that Sadat went to Camp David and spent there 21 days until he reached the paper of principles on achieving peace.
If the Palestinians had made use of this card and negotiated on their lands, today's catastrophe would have been avoided.
He pointed out that the card stipulated withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to other posts that would have been agreed upon in the future.
Mubarak said the Egyptian side had taken the card and developed it through conducting difficult negotiations with the Israeli side.
This resulted in a full restoration of all Egyptian territories which had been occupied by Israel, he added.
The President denied that war had affected the peace process and said there were no Jewish settlements in the occupied territories after war, pointing out that peace was easy to reach.
Recognizing the current "quagmire," President Mubarak underlined the need for a new approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
"Ever since 1950, we have been saying no. Many chances have been wasted. Had we been part of the 1948 partition (sic)..In 1967 we said no to an Israeli withdrawal (in swap for) a recognition of the state of Israel.
Even Camp David (the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty) was rejected."
ΚΚΚ Mubarak regretted that the Palestinian people were suffering horrible economic conditions.
He recalled that Egypt used to lay pressures on late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to unify security agencies to dodge Israeli pretexts.
"Now the West Bank and Gaza Strip are replete with settlements.
Should we continue to say no and risk the loss of the entire West Bank? ."
Mubarak recalled that at one time the number of Jewish settlements was only 18 and it would have been much easier to remove them.
Now they have mushroomed to more that 250.
He called on the new Palestinian leadership to bring Palestinian factions together and give peace a chance.
The Egyptian leader stressed, meanwhile, that the international community has an economic responsibility towards Palestine so that Palestinians would come to realize that peace would improve their living conditions.
"Israelis must also realize that the only solution to end violence is to come to the negotiation table," Mubarak said.
"I'm not saying scrap resistance.
I rather say give (negotiations) a chance ... Israel must also know that violence would not end once they sit to the negotiation table. It could take some time."
ΚΚΚ Mubarak recalled that late Israeli Premier Yitzyak Rabin was "a man of his word."
ΚΚΚ "I wish he would have lived longer.
We would have been able to solve the problem but they killed him.
Then came Shimon Peres for a short period.
Then came (Benjamin) Netenyahu and the Wye River agreements but nothing was done. "
ΚΚΚ Mubarak remembered that when ex-Israeli Premier Ehud Barak signed agreements with the Palestinians he failed to implement them because of Jewish religious leaders.
"In Camp David they said Arafat was to blame but he was not. Let's not fool ourselves.
I remember they were in Camp David and (ex-US President Bill) Clinton rang me up.
We were in June and he said he needed my help to push things forward. I asked my office to phone Arafat and he said they wanted him to cede Al- Quds.
I refused to talk to Arafat about this and Clinton was unhappy.
"When Clinton phoned me later I told him that no Arab or Muslim leader can dare agree to sellout AL-Quds.'
ΚΚΚ Mubarak also recalled that in Taba the Palestinians and Israeli discussed the issues of AL-Quds and the refugees.
"We managed to reach a formula that Barak accepted ... There were indications of a solution to Al-Quds issue. With respect to the refugees question there was a formula that Arafat and the Israelis almost accepted as far as the return of refugees was concerned.
"Most people (Palestinian refugees) would not return. They have already established their businesses in Britain, US, Egypt or Saudi Arabia.
They would not like to leave all that and go back to start from scratch.
It is a psychological thing."
ΚΚΚ Mubarak said the Taba talks coincided with the last days of Clinton's term.
"Each side said let's wait for the new administration to win more."
ΚΚΚ The Egyptian leader stressed that despite everything "If there is to be a solution it is possible with Sharon."
ΚΚΚ "Sharon was the one who evacuated the settlements from Sinai when he was a defense minister."
ΚΚΚ Addressing the Palestinians, Mubarak said:
ΚΚΚ "This is a chance. No one is asking you for a full halt of operations, but just for a respite to give negotiations a chance."
ΚΚΚ Taking up the Syrian-Israeli file, Mubarak recalled that Rabin once told him he wanted to finish his career by concluding peace agreements with Syria and Jordan.
"I told him he could directly talk with (late Jordanian king) Hussein because they knew each other.
"But I told him that (late) Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad would never cede an inch of his land.
Rabin said he was willing to return all Syrian land occupied in 1967 in return for full relations, embassies and agreements.
Mubarak said three days after his conversation with Rabin he flew to Syria and told Assad and asked him to ponder the issue and talk to the Americans to act as witnesses.
"Negotiations started later and we were familiarized with all the small details by the Israeli side, not the Arab one.'
ΚΚΚ Mubarak said Rabin told him that the Syrians refused to exchange embassies and enter into full normalization deal.
"Rabin said this was the only coy by which he could lure the Knesset to accept peace with Syria," he recalled.
Mubarak said the two sides continued to drag their feet until Rabin was assassinated.
President Mubarak stressed that unless the Palestinians and Israeli have a peace conviction and are realistic the US President would not do every thing.
"In fact whenever a chance is wasted what comes later is harder and less likely to yield. If we look back since 1948 I call it the cause of the lost chances.
Taking up the Iraqi file, the Egyptian leader said it would be better if all Iraqi parties participated in the election process.
"We are seeking that Sunnis participate in elections.
We have relations with both Sunnis and Shiites. We know the Iraqis very well.'
ΚΚΚ Mubarak, however, admitted that the Iraqi issue "is very complicated," asserting that fighting in towns and streets is very dangerous.
"You embroil yourself in a quagmire and losses would be huge unless you decide to destroy the entire country which is certainly insane.'
ΚΚΚ Mubarak questioned the US President's claim that the removal of Saddam Hussein made the world safer.
"I think terrorism increased. Terrorist groups are proliferating and would do us and them (Americans) harm."
ΚΚΚ He said there was no evidence supporting fears about the partition of Iraq.
On the possibility of sending Arab forces to Iraq, President Mubarak said the Iraqis would never accept this.
"No Arab would accept that another Arab come and give him instructions," he added.
Mubarak said he was surprised by the initiative of late UAE President Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan for Saddam to step down to avert war.
"Saddam brought this upon himself.
He kept bragging about possessing nuclear (weapons) when in fact he was none.'
ΚΚΚ President Mubarak also warned against playing the religion card.
"Look how Muslims are treated in the US.
They say the Arab world hates America. (It) hates America because of its double- standard dealing with the Palestinians."
ΚΚΚ "The US would never be a religion-based country," he said, wondering why the Americans want others to approve religious parties.
"We are Muslims but we are not Brotherhood, " said Mubarak, asserting that the Egyptian law bans religion-based parties.
On whether he would continue as President of Egypt, Mubarak said ruling Egypt is not a picnic, but rather a very difficult job.
The presidency of Egypt is neither easy nor is the way to get out of it, at least for me, he added.
"I wish I could get some rest for since I was a junior officer I have been in something like hard labor."
ΚΚΚ "I almost forgot any thing about having a walk in the streets or spending some leisure time." "Some people spread rumors claiming that I have been grooming my son for the presidency.
Nonsense. I'm not grooming my son or any body else. My son is just helping me in the same way (French President Jacque) Chirac's daughter is helping him in solving some problems.
"The President of Egypt is chosen by the people. Likewise, if the people want you will not be able to let them down."
ΚΚΚ Mubarak said he can patch up a farce like pretending to be stepping down and sending out marches and demonstrations to ask him to stay.
"I do not like to do such cheap tricks. I'm always serious and straightforward."
President Mubarak warns, in an interview to PBS, of losing current chance to solve Palestinian issue
al-Riyadh: Baz calls for creation of Arab mechanism to solve inter-Arab problems
Egypt committed to rotating UNSC seats for Africa
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