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Mubarak:Solving Middle East Conflict Key in Anti-Terror War - 2001-09-25


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak continued his tour of European capitals Tuesday with a stop in Berlin, where he told German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that terrorism will never be defeated unless there is a solution to the conflict in the Middle East.

Mr. Mubarak's message was blunt. Nowhere in the world, he said, is safe from terrorism, and the tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have increased the terrorist threat.

Mr. Mubarak described the Palestinian problem as the existential feeding ground where terrorism finds its source of nourishment. He said it is easier to fight a war than to deal with terrorism.

The Egyptian president said he understands how difficult it is for the United States in the present situation. But he told a news conference after his meeting with Chancellor Schroeder that, once the United States has carried out what it is planning to do now, it must work for a solution in the Middle East. "Egypt supports the United States in its battle against terrorism," he said, "not least because we ourselves have been victims of terrorist acts." "Without a solution to the Palestinian problem - and that has to be done with the help of the European Union as well as the United States - there will be a new generation growing up ready for terror. It will threaten stability worldwide. No state will be able to protect itself from terrorism," Mr. Mubarak continued, "so there is no other way than to pursue a solution to the Palestinian question."

Mr. Schroeder told his Egyptian guest that Germany offers the United States unqualified support for anything it does to counter terrorism.

But he said it is vital that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres meet for talks on the Middle East conflict. That is the only way, Mr. Schroeder said, to come closer to a solution to what he called "this key problem".

After Mr. Mubarak's stop in Germany, he goes on to Italy for talks with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.