TEL AVIV (Jan. 24)
Foreign Minister and Deputy Premier Kamal Hassan Ali of Egypt called yesterday for Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization to mutually recognize each other, a step that was urged by the late President Anwar Sadat last August, and affirmed that Egypt is in contact with the PLO through its representatives in Cairo.
In an interview broadcast from his Cairo office by Israel Radio, Hassan Ali said: “This is our view and will continue to be because you know, as we know, that the PLO has a role in this whole (peace) process, and you yourself in Israel quite well know that most of the (West Bank) mayors are PLO representatives.”
He added, “This is a fact of life and we have to live with it and we have to try to work together to solve this problem of autonomy for the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza as a step forward for the comprehensive peace.” Hassan Ali said Egypt’s view of real autonomy was the “transfer” of responsibility from the military government to the Palestinians, including East Jerusalem.” He stated that Egypt envisaged a role for the PLO whose representatives are still in Cairo, “so the contact is there all the time.”
At the same time, Hassan Ali affirmed that his country would not improve its relations with the Arab world at the expense of its relations with Israel. The peace process with Israel will continue with Egypt adhering to the Camp David accords “and if relations with the Arab world are to be resumed, this will be on this basis and on no other basis,” he declared.
SAYS MEETINGS WITH SHARON WAS ‘HISTORIC SUCCESS’
Hassan Ali described his meetings in Cairo with Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon last week as an “historic success and a promotion of relations between the two countries. ” He said: “We now see no problems about normalization, about the final arrangements for the withdrawal from the rest of Sinai. And this proves that the relations will develop more and more.”
Hassan Ali said the Egyptians would not accept any outside pressure on them and did not wish anyone to bring pressure to bear on Israel. He also said there would be local celebrations in northern and southern Sinai when Israel completes its withdrawal next April and he hoped there would be similar celebrations on the Israeli side of the border.
He said he regretted that some Israelis sympathize with the movement to halt the withdrawal. They should realize, he said, that it was “to the benefit of both countries that peace is implemented. But I am quite sure the Israeli government will be able to end the conflict (in the Yamit area) which is completely internal, I know, but on the other hand, I would like the Yamit people to think of the bilateral relations and the cooperation between the two nations who are neighbors and living side by side.”
Hassan Ali reiterated his pledge that “real cordial relations between the two countries” will continue after the April withdrawal deadline.