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Egypt: US May Soon Change Mideast Position - 2001-09-05

A top Egyptian official says there may be a change of position coming from Washington regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The senior political adviser to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says the United States is days away from changing its position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The adviser, Osama el-Baz, was part of a high-level Egyptian delegation that traveled to Washington in mid-August. He appeared on Egyptian television.

In days, not weeks, he says, we will see some change in the American position for the better. But he says it remains to be seen whether the change by the United States will be enough.

Mr. el-Baz did not elaborate on what kind of changes he was expecting from Washington. But he said President Hosni Mubarak had been working behind-the-scenes in an effort to resume the peace process.

He says President Mubarak has sent five letters, in a short period of time, to President Bush. In addition, he says there have been a large number of telephone calls between the two presidents, and Mr. Mubarak has also been talking with European and Arab leaders.

But despite Mr. El-Baz's apparent optimism, not everyone is convinced the United States is changing its position.

Mustafa Elwi is a political analyst in Cairo.

Mr. Elwi says he has heard talk of a U.S. change in policy in the past few weeks, which he would welcome, but he remains skeptical.