Moussa: We did not advise Arafat to delay the state's declaration
Egypt-Palestine, Politics, 2/22/1999
Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa stated that Egypt did not offer advice or use pressure in order to change or impose any decision on Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to postpone the declaration of an independent Palestinian state.
In reply to reporters' questions on whether Egypt advised the Palestinians to change their minds regarding the declaration of a state on May 4, Moussa said following the meeting between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat that the talks came in "a period that witnesses intense and continuing diplomatic and political activities" to set the stalled Middle East peace process into motion.
Moussa defended the "unquestionable" Palestinian right to establish an independent state when the interim period set by the Palestinian-lsraeli Oslo peace accord expires on July 4, 1999. "It (the state) is an undisputed right for the Palestinians. Egypt, as well as the majority of the world, believes that regional peace will not be complete without a Palestinian state," Moussa said.
However, he added that declaring an independent state will not be legally considered a unilateral action by the Palestinians. "The right to self-determination is always unilateral, concerning only the people who has this right," Moussa said, adding that describing the declaration of a state as a prohibited unilateral act is wrong and against the international law," Moussa told reporters.
Arafat had said he would declare the independent state on May 4, the end of the five-year period for negotiating a final peace under the Oslo accord. But analysts said he had faced mounting international pressure not to make such a declaration, particularly in the run-up to Israel's snap election on May 17.
Moussa said that when Arafat signed the Oslo peace accord with the former Israeli Labor Party government of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, "there was good intention and mutual commitments between the governments of Rabin and (his successor Shimon) Peres and the Palestinian Authority."
"But under the current hardline government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it became almost impossible that the two parties may agree on the state," Moussa continued. "In this case, If we say that declaring a state hinges on the two partiesı agreement, a veto by one party will hinder this move. This is unacceptable," Moussa said.
Moussa added that the date of declaring the independent Palestinian state was not yet certain. "The issue is open for discussion as for the date. But the right itself is unquestionable," Moussa said. "This subject was the core of todayıs talks between President Mubarak and President Arafat."
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