Mubarak: Egypt Won’t Press Israel to Sign Nuclear Treaty

Egypt will no longer press Israel to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, President Hosni Mubarak said after meeting with President Clinton this week.

At the same time, however, the Egyptian leader did not say whether he would sign the pact when it comes up for renewal in two weeks.

“We will never withdraw from the NPT,” Mubarak said at a joint news conference with Clinton.

Egypt could elect not to sign the renewal while still remaining in the treaty.

Mubarak’s meeting with Clinton capped off a four-day stay in Washington, during which he sought to ensure support for Egypt’s annual $2.1 billion in U.S. foreign aid.

Mubarak’s remarks came in the wake of recent tensions in relations with both Israel and the United States over Israel’s refusal to sign the NPT and open its nuclear facilities to inspection.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has said he would sign the treaty after reaching comprehensive peace agreements with all countries in the Middle East, including Libya, Iran and Iraq.

Mubarak told Clinton that he had agreed to Israel’s position and will no longer withhold support for the treaty.

Egypt has “reserved its position” on whether to sign the treaty, Robert Pelletreau, assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, told reporters after the news conference.

“But it has undertaken that it will not lobby other governments” to withhold support, he said.

At the joint news conference, Clinton said “all countries should join the NPT” and that Egypt and Israel should work together to resolve the issue.

Recognizing that budget cutter on Capitol Hill were turning a less sympathetic ear toward foreign aid in general and aid to Egypt in particular, Mubarak sought to smooth relations with the United States and Israel during his visit here.

Mubarak met with representatives from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Wednesday.

According to one congressional aide, Mubarak realized that he “must make peace with Israel and the administration over the NPT if he is going to get the $2.1billion.”

He also met with representatives from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Wednesday.

Lester Pollack, chairman of the Conference of presidents, characterized the meeting as “very frank.”

Pollack said his group raised with Mubarak concerns about Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism and the Arab boycott.

Mubarak is “very deep in his convictions,” Pollack said, adding that even though “we didn’t agree on everything, there’s a sense we will continue this relationship.”

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