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Egypt Skeptical On Arab Summit - 2001-08-01


Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has been on a one-man mission to rally support for an emergency Arab summit on the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians. In Cairo, whether his efforts will actually lead to a summit remain in doubt.

Yasser Arafat's crusade for an emergency Arab summit has apparently run into resistance from Egypt.

The Palestinian leader has been on a non-stop tour of Arab states, trying to rally support for Palestinians in their 10-month-old uprising against Israeli occupation.

In the past five-days, Mr. Arafat has been to Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and has traveled to Italy. He met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Alexandria, Egypt.

Mr. Mubarak, like most of the other Arab leaders who have been visited by Mr. Arafat, ended his meeting expressing deep concern about the rising violence in the Middle East. President Mubarak called for the United States and Europe to supply peace monitors in the region, and said if Israel refuses the bloodshed may never end. "The more a Middle East solution is delayed the more vicious the situation will become," Mr. Mubarak said. "The Israelis are just like the Palestinians they just want to live." Consequently, President Mubarak warns - killing Palestinian leaders is only going to create a cycle of violence.

Regarding the issue of an emergency summit, however, President Mubarak said - in his words - not every time something happens will we call ... an emergency meeting.

Mr. Arafat said other Arab nations support a summit, but those same nations also indicated there would first have to be more meaningful discussions about whether they would participate in an Arab summit.

Mr. Arafat now plans to hold talks with Italy's president and foreign minister in Rome.