ROME (Sep. 7)
An Egyptian official said here that Pope John Paul it is seriously concerned over the issue of Jerusalem and has affirmed the Vatican’s opposition to any unilateral measures in that city. According to Osama Al Baz, Egypt’s Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, the Pope expressed his views to Vice President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt during a private meeting yesterday at Castel Gondolfo, the Papal summer residence.
Al Baz said Mubarak conveyed a message to the Pope from President Anwar Sodat on the subject of Jerusalem. Mubarak, who is on a six nation tour of Europe, apparently to mount diplomatic pressure on Israel, left for Paris after meeting with the Pope.
Al Baz told a press conference here that the Middle East peace process was threatened by Israeli actions such as the adoption of a law declaring Jerusalem its capital, settlements on the West Bank and preemptive attacks on south Lebanon.
He said Egypt would welcome European participation in the Middle East peace process and favored an international conference aimed at solving the Palestinian question but only if the Palestinians themselves attended. Al Baz said an identity of views between Egypt and Italy on the Middle East was demonstrated during Mubarak’s talks here with Premier Francesco Cossiga and Foreign Minister Emilio Colombo.