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Egypt Wants Firing on PLO Stopped

Ambassador Saad Mortada of Egypt made a second appeal to Israel within 24 hours today to cease firing on Palestine Liberation Organization forces in Beirut. Mortada telephoned Foreign Ministry Director-General David Kimche transmitting what he said was an urgent message from the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Butros Ghali.

Mortada transmitted a similar message from Ghali to Israel earlier. An Israeli spokesman, reporting the “additional” Egyptian request, said Kimche had sought to clarify whether the request had come from the PLO, ” because if so Israel cannot accept it since Israel does not negotiate with terrorist organizations.” He said that “upon the Ambassador’s clarification that the request came from Dr. Ghali, Kimche told the Ambassador that Israel would cease its fire when its forces ceased being shot at.” The spokesman said “Kimche stressed that Israel had already announced two cease-fires, and each time the PLO had continued firing upon Israel’s forces.”

Israeli observers pointed to the irony of the situation in which the PLO, sworn foes of the Israel Egypt peace treaty should appeal to Egypt to bring its influence to bear on Israel on behalf of the beleaguered PLO forces.

Egyptian sources in Israel said the latest Egyptian effort should be seen as a continuation of President Hosni Mubarak’s messages to Premier Menachem Begin last week urging a cease fire in Lebanon. “Egypt does not want to see the weekend cease-fire break down,” these sources said, “especially as that would lead to a broadening of the fighting again.”

Meanwhile, in Cairo, Mubarak returned from a brief visit to Riyadh where he conferred with Saudi Arabia’s new ruler. King Fahd and other Arab leaders who came to pay their respects to King Khaled, who died yesterday.

Also in Cairo a group of lawyers gathered at their association’s premises to protest against Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and called on the government of President Hosni Mubarak to denounce the Camp David peace agreements with Israel. The lawyers shouted slogans attacking what they called collusion between Israel and some Arab states over Lebanon, and called for “Arab unity to stop Zionist aggression.”

The lawyer’s demonstration was the first open outbreak of anti-Israeli feeling in Cairo since the start of Israel’s military operations in Lebanon. Earlier today, the Israeli Embassy in Cairo was cordoned off after anonymous callers said two bombs had been placed on the premises during the night. The building was thoroughly searched but no explosives were found.

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