VIENNA (Dec. 16)
President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt urged the Palestine Liberation Organization to recognize Israel unilaterally. He also declared his support for President Reagan’s Middle East peace initiative, despite what he called its negative aspects, chiefly its opposition to a Palestinian state.
Mubarak expressed his views during a two-hour stopover at Vienna airport yesterday where he was greeted by Chancellor Bruno Kreisky. The Egyptian leader, on a tour of European capitals, was enroute to Bucharest for a meeting with President Nicolai Ceausescu of Rumania.
He said the PLO should recognize Israel to force the Israelis “to put their cards on the table.” If there is no positive response, the PLO could always retract its recognition, he said.
RESERVATIONS ABOUT REAGAN’S PLAN
Mubarak said he supported Reagan’s plan, albeit with reservations, because its negative aspects could be overcome at the negotiating table. He observed that it was unrealistic to expect that an American plan would fulfill all of the demands of the Arab side. Reagan, who announced his plan on September 1, called for a Palestinian entity on the West Bank and Gaza strip in association with Jordan but ruled out a Palestinian state. However, he urged Israel to freeze its settlement activities on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Asked if he would support a PLO-led Palestinian government in exile, Mubarak said he would but thought such a move was not realistic at this time.
Kreisky spoke out in favor of the Reagan plan which he said was significant because it was the first time the Palestinian problem has been addressed by a President of the United States. He also saw merit in the Arab proposals made at the Fez summit conference last month. He suggested that the two initiatives together could provide the basis for negotiations but declined to say if he thought that was a realistic possibility.