Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
3 - 9 August 2000
Issue No. 493
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues

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Intensive consultations

WINDING up his Arab tour, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat stopped over in Alexandria yesterday for talks with President Hosni Mubarak which Foreign Minister Amr Moussa described as "very fruitful and useful," reports Nevine Khalil from the Mediterranean resort city.

Moussa told reporters that intensive Arab consultations will continue with the aim of "saving the peace process and pushing it forward" following the failure of the Camp David summit. But there are no immediate plans for an Arab summit, he added.

"Arab summits, whether limited or full-fledged, are possible, although no decision has been taken," Moussa told Al-Ahram Weekly. "In fact, there are no plans in the near future for a comprehensive or limited summit. What is certain is that there are intensive Arab consultations." He did not expect a summit "in the next three or 30 days, barring unforeseen circumstances."

Asked whether Arafat intended to keep his pledge to declare a Palestinian state by the 13 September, Moussa responded: "The Palestinian position remains unchanged, and our position supporting the declaration has not and will not change, regardless of the timing... be it 12, 13 or 14 September."

Quizzed on whether a peace agreement was possible before 13 September, Moussa responded: "Everything is possible."

On Ehud Barak's announcement that the US will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on 20 January 2001, Moussa said: "This would be considered unilateral action that will inflict serious harm on the peace process, unless a peace agreement had been reached by that date. Perhaps the Americans are optimistic that a solution will have been reached by that date, but any action without reaching agreement with the Israelis and Palestinians about moving the embassy will have a negative impact and no positive results at all."

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