Mubarak to Netanyahu: Jerusalem Must be up for Negotiation
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu there would be no Arab-Israeli negotiations without Jerusalem on the table.
Abbas addressed the media in Sharm Al-Sheikh, following a lengthy meeting of his own with the Egyptian ruler. The two discussed the content of Mubarak's meeting with Netanyahu last week. For his part, Abbas reiterated his position that Israel must agree to a settlement freeze and to the PA's determination of which elements will be up for discussion. "But we have no preconditions," Abbas added.
"President Mubarak told me," the PA leader explained, "that he said to Netanyhau that Jerusalem must be part of any negotiations and resolution."
Mum's the word
Abbas refused to discuss proposals put forward by Netanyahu during the Israeli leader's meeting with Mubarak. He said that he would await the return of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abulgheit and Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman from Washington before commenting. "The picture will become clearer then and it will be possible to discuss it," Abbas said. "There is no point in discussing matters which are still unclear."
At the conclusion of Prime Minister Netanyahu's talks with Mubarak last Tuesday, the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement saying that the talks had been conducted in an atmosphere that was "friendly, with talks touching on important issues." The statement said that the two had discussed ways to propel the negotiation process with the Palestinian Authority forward, as well as the issue of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
Commenting on the Netanyahu-Mubarak talks, Abulgheit said at the time: "Everything is on the table."
Regarding American guarantees intended to encourage the Israel-PA talks, Abbas said, "We heard about American guarantees, but thus far we have not seen them. I don't think we need any guarantees, but a solid basis that will facilitate the start of negotiations."