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Egyptian Foreign Minister Warns of Diplomatic Break with Israel if Israel Assaults Beirut

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali warned today that Cairo might break off its diplomatic relations with Israel if Israel launches an assault on Beirut. Ali, in an interview with Le Monde, said: “If Beirut is taken by assault, I do not see how we could continue to have normal diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Ali, who also serves as Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister, conferred today with President Francois Mitterrand to whom he brought a personal message from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian sources say he told Mitterrand that Egypt “will have to reconsider its relations with Israel” should west Beirut be taken by force.

In his interview with Le Monde, Ali said that as a consequence of the Lebanese crisis “the normalization process (between Egypt and Israel) is already 99 percent frozen.” He also said “the negotiations on (Palestinian) autonomy can not be resumed. For our Israeli (negotiating) partners, autonomy is an end by itself; for us it must lead to the creation of a Palestinian state at the earliest.”

SAYS REAGAN’S POSITION ON LEBANON HAS EVOLVED

Ali, who last week conferred with President Reagan and Secretary of State George Shultz, said Reagan’s position on Lebanon “has evolved since my last meeting with him (June 11). Then, he fully backed Israel’s stand that the fedayeen must leave. Beirut unconditionally to pave the way for the creation of a strong Lebanese government.”

Now said the Egyptian Foreign Minister, “the American leaders are more realistic. They have two aims: to defuse the Beirut bomb and settle the Lebanese crisis by obtaining the withdrawal of all foreign forces (stationed in Lebanon) but also to deal in a fundamental way, with the Palestinian problem.”

The Egyptian minister said he had strongly urged America, during his last week’s visit to Washington “to start a direct dialogue with the PLO.” Ali said Reagan and Shultz had not turned down his plea. “They asked for more time to think the matter over,” he said.

SEEKS RUMANIA’S MEDIATION EFFORT

Ali, who yesterday also conferred with the French Minister for Foreign Trade, Michel Jobert, and the head of the Foreign Ministry, Francis Gutmann, also reportedly discussed in Paris the possibility of a mediation effort by Rumanian President Nicolae Ceausescu. Rumania is the only East-European country to have normal diplomatic relations with Israel.

Egyptian sources here said Mubarak today sent personal and urgent messages to both Ceausescu and Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky. Mubarak, the sources said, urged both to act in any way they can to try and prevent an Israeli assault on Beirut. The messages were carried to Vienna and Bucharest by Egyptian Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs Ossama El-Baz.

France and Egypt have jointly submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council calling for a military disengagement in Beirut as a first step towards a solution to the Palestinian problem.

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