Mubarak Calls on PLO to Unilaterally Recognize Israel

President Hosni Mubarak, in a joint press conference with visiting French President Francois Mitterrand, called today on the PLO to recognize the existence of Israel whether or not Israel was prepared to reciprocate. Speaking to reporters on the second day of talks between the two Presidents, Mubarak said he adhered to his longstanding call for mutual and simultaneous recogni tion between Israel and the PLO. “I think the only solution for the Palestinians is for the PLO to recognize the State of Israel,” Mubarak said. “I don’t think they would lose anything by doing so. It is not advisable for the PLO to reject all initiatives like Israel does. That is exactly what Israel wants.” He added that PLO recognition of Israel “would enable the United States to begin the dialogue with them that we have been promised.”

The goal of mutual recognition was also stressed by Mitterrand, who said that “the single act of asking the Arab states and the PLO to recognize Israel presupposes an equivalent gesture by Israel towards the Palestinians.” At the same time, he suggested that Israel’s declared refusal to deal with the organization should not prevent the PLO from making a gesture to Israel.

Establishing peace, he said requires the participation of both parties to a conflict. The absence of one can only aggravate the problem, but in the absence of both parties, he said, the gravity of the problem is still greater.

Mitterrand said, however, that he himself was not prepared to accord the PLO full diplomatic recognition by meeting with Yasir Arafat, until the organization altered its objectives. “We cannot recognize an organization if it maintains as one of its objectives the destruction of a state whose existence we ourselves accept and with whom we have cordial relations at the highest level,” Mitterrand said.

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