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Egypt Seeks Improved Arab-israel Communications, Mubarak Says

January 29, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told President Reagan Thursday that Egypt has refused to concede to Arab pressure to recall its ambassador to Israel because “that would not solve the problem” of unrest in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a senior administration official said.

At the Reagan-Mubarak meeting, which lasted more than an hour, Mubarak “spoke of the need for channels of communication between the Arab world and Israel,” the official said. The talks focused on the Arab-Israeli peace process and the Iran-Iraq war.

The two leaders discussed Mubarak’s five ideas to encourage peace in administered territories that he unveiled last week. The official said Mubarak described the five points to U.S. officials as:

Terminating violence in the territories for six months.

Ceasing construction of new Jewish settlements in the territories for six months.

Respect for fundamental and political rights of Palestinians.

Respect for international treaties that protect Palestinian rights.

Movement toward convening an international peace conference.

Mubarak told Secretary of State George Shultz on Wednesday that the five points are not an “integrated plan,” but simply areas in which Mubarak felt progress should be made.

Reagan responded most specifically on welcoming the idea of the six-month moratorium on violence in the territories, the official said.

Reagan also mentioned that he would like to move “faster” in the peace process, but did not refer to Mubarak’s other three points, the official said.

In discussing the role that an international conference might play, the presidents agreed to be “flexible” in considering issues of procedure and substance. The official said the United States is receptive to “a properly structured conference.”

They did not discuss who would represent the Palestinian people at peace talks, but the official said Egypt has been calling on “the PLO to take certain moves to pull itself together.” As an example, he said, “Egypt would like to see the PLO back in much better understanding with Jordan.”


The official said Mubarak did not suggest any cut in U.S. aid to Israel as a way of prodding it to the peace table, and said “in no sense is that what the Administration would contemplate.”

He also said that Israel and Jordan are being briefed on the Reagan-Mubarak talks and emphasized that the United States and Egypt could not make great strides toward peace without the consent of other key nations in the region. He said the Reagan- Mubarak talks were not a “breakthrough.”

Mubarak also invited Reagan to make a state visit to Egypt, the official said.

In the White House ceremony before their meeting, Reagan said the recent resumption of relations between various Arab countries and Israel “was a recognition that Egypt is again exerting the leadership role it has traditionally played in Arab councils.”

He said “the danger of allowing the Palestinian problem to fester is evident and reinforces the urgency of moving toward negotiations.”

Mubarak responded that “the continuation of occupation and oppression will bring lost hope and inflict damage on all the parties without exception. It will badly hurt American interests in the Middle East” as well frustrate peace efforts “at a time when we are looking for a breakthrough,” he said.

He mentioned that “many governments are preoccupied this year with domestic matters and national events,” an apparent reference to both U.S. and Israel elections this year that could distract attention from the peace process.

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