Mubarak Says He Won’t Cancel Peace Treaty with Israel As Price of Regaining Arab League Membership

President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt denied today that he would cancel Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel as a means of regaining membership in the Arab League.

“If this is the way to join the Arab League, to cancel our agreement, I tell you frankly we do not want to join,” he said in an interview from Cairo on the CBS-TV ‘Face the Nation” program.

While calling President Hafez Assad of Syria a “good man”, Mubarak rejected the suggestion that Assad can force Egypt to abrogate its peace treaty with Israel as Syria did with Lebanon which broke its May 17, 1983 agreement with Israel a week ago. “Whatever we decide we don’t change,” the Egyptian President declared. “This agreement is constitutionally approved in this country.”

Mubarak seemed evasive about reports that he had told King Hassan of Morocco last year that Camp David is dead. He said today that “Camp David is the only document which is agreed upon” by Israel, the United States and an Arab country “since the Palestinian problem started.”

CONDITIONS FOR RETURNING ENVOY TO ISRAEL

At the same time, Mubarak said that he would not send back Egypt’s Ambassador to Israel until Israel withdraws completely from Lebanon and begins some movement on the Palestinian issue. He said he did not want “cold relations” with any country, including Israel. He noted that he has not sent back Israel’s Ambassador to Egypt or closed the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.

But Mubarak charged that it was Israel, not Egypt, which was violating the Camp David agreements. He listed as violations the “annexation” of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and the “freeze” of the autonomy talks unless some of them are held in Jerusalem. He claimed that former Premier Menachem Begin and the late President Anwar Sadat had an agreement that the talks would not be held in Jerusalem.

Mubarak said it would be a “grave mistake” if Congress linked aid to Egypt with the return of the Egyptian Ambassador to Israel, as some in Congress are urging. Instead, he said the U.S. “should persuade” Israel to take the necessary steps.

In that context, Mubarak said that when he urged the U.S. to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization at the end of his recent meeting with President Reagan in Washington, he was not saying anything he had not said publicly in Cairo. He maintained that for King Hussein of Jordan to enter negotiations with Israel, he needs the support of both the U.S. and Egypt.

He said he met with PLO chief Yasir Arafat in order to help Hussein form a delegation which would include PLO representatives “so as to put him on the beginning of the road to negotiations with Israel.”

Mubarak also denied reports that unlike his predecessor, Sadat, he was moving away from close relations with the U.S. But he cautioned that when the U.S. is forming its policy in the Middle East it should not use an “American computer” as it has been doing but an “Arab computer.”

“Ask your friends in the area. We will give you good advice,” Mubarak said.

ISRAEL URGED TO ADOPT MORE ‘FLEXIBLE’ POLICY

Meanwhile, Israel’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Gideon Patt, visiting Cairo, was told by Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali today that Israel must adopt a more “flexible” policy if it wants to encourage other parties to join in Middle East peace negotiations.

According to reports from Cairo, Hassan Ali told the Israeli visitor that Israel should abandon its “expansionist policy” by freezing settlement building in the occupied territories. He urged Israel to withdraw its forces completely from Lebanon because its invasion of that country in June, 1982 had a “negative impact” on the peace process.

Patt went to Cairo over the weekend to attend the international trade fair there. He has indicated that he hoped to discuss the possible revival of flagging Israeli-Egyptian trade relations.

NEXT STORY