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Levy Projects Upbeat Mood on Return from Egyptian Visit

Foreign Minister David Levy returned Wednesday from his two-day visit to Cairo expressing confidence that Israel and Egypt share a “common concern for the promotion of the peace process.”

He described as “good and friendly” the one-hour meeting he held with President Hosni Mubarak prior to his departure. Levy also met with Mubarak on Monday evening, shortly after arriving in the Egyptian capital.

Neither of those encounters produced an invitation to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to visit Egypt, a continuing diplomatic slight contributing to already sour Israeli-Egyptian relations, the only diplomatic ties that exist between an Arab country and the Jewish state.

In fact, the Egyptian press, which many Israelis consider government-controlled, escalated its personal attacks on Shamir during Levy’s visit.

But the Israeli foreign minister projected an upbeat mood to reporters at Ben-Gurion Airport. He emphasized the positive aspects of his talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amre Moussa.

Conceding differences between the two countries in their approach to the regional peace conference the United States and Soviet Union are intent on arranging, Levy said he found neither pressure nor conditions in Cairo.

It was a meeting between the representatives of two countries that consider themselves responsible for peace in the region, he said. Levy described the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty as a “strong milestone” on the way to comprehensive peace in the region.

He thanked Mubarak for his warm welcome, “as well as the advice he gave.”

Moussa, speaking at the time of Levy’s departure, said their talks were intended to remove obstacles to peace, and he hoped they would bear fruit.

Meanwhile, the important Egyptian daily Al Ahram on Wednesday described Shamir as “a man who opposes peace and deals more with illusion than reality.”

The newspaper claimed that Shamir’s personality had become the major obstacle to peace.

Another influential Cairo daily, Al Akhbar, said that Israel would have to pay the price of “territory for peace” to prove it is sincere in its desire for peace with its neighbors.

So far, Israel has not given such proof, the newspaper said.

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