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Egypt Tells Britain Not to Rush into European Initiative on Mideast

Egypt has told Britain and Germany not to rush headlong towards a European initiative on the Middle East following the fruitless expiration of the May 26 target date for Palestinian autonomy.

This was made clear during the visit here this week by Vice President Hosni Mubarak during which he met Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington. He had already met President Carter in Washington and Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in Bonn.

Dr. Osama Al Baz, a senior Egyptian Foreign Ministry official involved in the autonomy negotiations, told the press that a European initiative would only be worthwhile if its timing, wording and content were right and would have to be backed by the United States. Assuming that it should take the form of a United Nations Security Council resolution. Al Baz said that it should not specifically endorse a negotiating role for the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Despite the expiration of the May 26 date he also thought that the present round of autonomy talks remained “the most viable way of pressing the Israelis on the Palestinian issue.” He saw them as a “peaceful confrontation” which forced the Israelis to debate the Palestinian issue among themselves.

At the same time, Al Baz added, Egypt would only resume these talks on condition that Israel refrained from establishing or expanding settlements in occupied territories and froze the bill to make the annexation of East Jerusalem part of its fundamental law.

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