June 3, 1998
President Hosni Mubarak yesterday called for world nuclear disarmament in the wake of the tests conducted by both India and Pakistan.
"We have demanded that the Middle East region be free of weapons of mass destruction, but today I urge the phasing out of nuclear disarmament in the world over a number of years," the Egyptian Leader told reporters after talks in Cairo with Israeli Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai.
"There can be an international treaty in this respect," he added. President Mubarak has campaigned for the elimination of nuclear weapons from the Middle East since the early 1990s.
Asked to comment on the Iranian remarks that Pakistan's nuclear capability make Muslims more confident, President Mubarak said: " I will feel safer when all nuclear weapons could be removed from all over the world. This is the safest way for all people all over the world."
Mubarak discussed with the Israeli Minister the Middle East peace process and ways to advance it. The Egyptian leader, who had invited Mordechai to Cairo, noted to the military background he, as a former air force commander, shares with the Israeli official. " Only those who fought in wars know the meaning of peace," said President Mubarak.
Mordechai, who made a brief visit to Cairo, ducked a question on when Israel would sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), saying: "We would like to sign a peace agreement in reference to the stalled talks with the Palestinians. "We are living in the Middle East, neither in India nor in Pakistan, " he added.
Palestinians have gone extra peace mile, Baz says
"The Israeli Minister denied his country was involved in the Indian nuclear tests," said Osama Al-Baz, President Mubarak's Political Advisor. "We believe that as long as some States have been allowed to possess nuclear weaponry and military nuclear capabilities, this leads to instability whether we are talking about the Middle East or any other region."
Baz urged the world to move towards eliminating the weapons of mass destruction within a specific time scale. "In the Middle East we believe that no country should be favoured in this domain because for any country to have military nuclear capabilities is conductive to instability and constitutes a factor of threat to other countries, " added Dr. Baz.
Asked if there was a link between preparations for an Arab Summit and Mordechai's visit, he said: "They (Israelis) might have this in their mind. But this point was not raised during the meeting (with President Mubarak)." Intense diplomatic efforts are under way to convene an Arab Summit to discuss the Middle East peacemaking blighted by intransigent Israeli policies.
"During Mubarak-Mordechai meeting, an emphasis was laid on the Egyptian view and that of the Arabs with regard to accepting the US initiative, " Dr. Baz told reporters. Israel has turned down a US offer asking it to hand over 13 per cent of the West Bank territory in exchange for tougher Palestinian crackdown on anti-Israeli violence. The Palestinians have said they accept the US proposals.
"Mordechai came to Cairo to explain the Israeli view point still unresolved on the Palestinian negotiations with Israel. and talked during the meeting on the security aspects of the (Israeli) troop redeployment agreement."
He also said that an Egyptian-French proposal for convening an international conference for peace rescue has not been tackled during the talks between President Mubarak and the Israeli official.
President Mubarak and French President Jacques Chirac late last month suggested in Paris the conference to give "a new hope and energy" to the faltering Mideast peace process.
"Mordechai did not say there is a rejection of the US initiative, but he explained the reasons making them (Israelis) hesitant in accepting some points in it, " said Baz, who added the Palestinians have "gone the extra mile which the US talked about."
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