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Unsettling News from Cairo

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Two visiting U.S. Congressmen brought unsettling news from Cairo where they found Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak angered by Israeli government policies and clearly dismayed by the closer military and economic alliance between the United States and Israel. They apparently failed to convince him that Egypt had nothing to fear from the new relationship between Washington and Jerusalem.

Reps. Dan Glickman (D. Kan.) and Lawrence Smith (D. Fla.) stopped over at this Dead Sea town to attend the first World Assembly of Young Jewish Leadership, a gathering of members of the United Jewish Appeal Young Leadership Cabinet and some younger generation Knesset members. The Congressmen had a 90-minute session with Mubarak in Cairo at which the U.S. Ambassador, Nicholas Veliotes, was present.

According to the American lawmakers, the Egyptian President bridled at allegations by Israeli Premier Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Moshe Arens that his policies violated the Camp David agreements. Mubarak asserted that he was totally committed to Camp David and would remain so. He pointed out that both Shamir and Arens had opposed the Camp David agreements when they were signed in September, 1978 by Premier Menachem Begin and the late President Anwar Sadat.

SEEKS TO REASSURE MUBARAK

Smith said he sought to reassure Mubarak that Egypt labored under “misconceptions” regarding the agreements reached between Shamir and President Reagan in Washington two weeks ago and that they would not prejudice American relations with Egypt. Mubarak, for his part, made it clear that Egypt expected increases and improvements in its U.S. aid package commensurate with those pledged to Israel.

Smith said he tried to convince Mubarak that minor concessions by both sides could break the impasse that has developed in the Egyptian-Israeli peace process. But Mubarak was plainly troubled by Israel’s insistence that resumed negotiations with Egypt — for example, over their border dispute at Taba–must be held in Jerusalem. He seemed to indicate that this Israeli demand was a major obstacle in the way of a resumed dialogue, the Florida Democrat said.

On Lebanon, Mubarak’s position is unequivocal Israel must withdraw. He did not accept Smith’s argument that Israel’s September 4 pullback to the Awali River line in Lebanon elicited no commensurate response from Syria. Smith told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he would convey his impressions from Cairo to Shamir when they meet Tuesday.

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