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Mubarak calls for better ties with Iran and Sudan

BBC Worldwide Monitoring
Source: MENA news agency, Cairo,
4 June 99

Cairo, 4th June: President Husni Mubarak has emphasized that Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ehud Baraq knows the views of Yitzhaq Rabin on the peace process on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks. If Baraq follows the course that Rabin pursued and if he believes in the need for the return of the Golan Heights to Syria, it will be possible to reach a peace agreement, Mubarak said. And if the Israeli forces withdraw from Lebanon, the whole problem will be settled, he added.

In an interview with `Al-Ahram' Chief Editor Ibrahim Nafi published Friday [4th June], President Mubarak said that the US and European stands support the peace process, but what counts is what the Israeli government will do. Even during Netanyahu's term in office the Americans and Europeans supported the peace process but there were many obstacles. I hope both the Americans and Europeans will continue their backing and I believe that the United States and Europe will continue their backing of the peace process.

On Egyptian- Iranian ties, President Mubarak said: "As far as we are concerned, there are no problems in Egyptian- Iranian ties, but there are certain outstanding issues that are known to the Iranians. I wish to have very good ties with Iran , but at the proper time, for I have my own calculations in this respect."

On Egyptian-Sudanese relations, President Mubarak said: "Sudan is supposed to be a natural extension of Egypt. I think ties with Sudan are beginning to improve and I hope we will go all the way. The Sudanese government handed over some Egyptian property there and things are now going on their normal course. There are, however, still some points under discussion and I hope we will settle them as quickly as possible."

Asked if there is a chance for a meeting between him and Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir shortly, President Mubarak said: "I do not rule out such a meeting but the date cannot be set now."

Asked about the Arab five-way summit, President Mubarak said: "A five-way meeting of these countries must convene, not necessarily on the summit level, to discuss negotiations with Israel on such issues as water, Jerusalem, refugees and borders, in addition to numerous issues that concern these five countries."

Asked when such a meeting could be held, President Mubarak said: "No-one can determine the date now and a meeting might convene on the foreign ministers level or lower, according to what these countries might agree, especially if such a meeting at present is feasible. Representatives of the five countries must eventually sit down and coordinate their effort." He added: "Such a meeting might lead to some benefit, but I cannot put pressure for a meeting because there are differences between the Palestinians and Syria."

In reply to a question, President Mubarak said: I heard about this from the United States. They proposed a quadripartite or a five way meeting. If a quadripartite meeting is held, it will be attended by Palestinians, Jordanians, Americans and Israelis. If a five-way meeting is held, Egypt will be represented, and if it is held, I will attend it if this would lead to some results.


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