Mubarak says Arafat's removal will not serve peace

 

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said the expulsion from the occupied territories of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat would not serve the cause of peace and accused Israel of provoking Palestinians to commit acts of violence.

"Israel is seeking to impress upon the minds of theinternational community that the elected Palestinian PresidentYasser Arafat had become an obstacle to peace and must beremoved," Mubarak said.

His remarks came in a televised speech to mark the 30thanniversary of the 1973 October War, when Egypt and Syrialaunched a surprise assault to regain territories lost to Israelin the 1967 Middle East War.

"The intended escalation against the Palestinian presidentwill not serve the cause of peace," he said.

The Egyptian president, who has long served as a mediator inArab-Israeli peace efforts, said the conflict was at a criticalpoint dominated by tit-for-tat violence as Palestinians continuetheir three-year-old uprising against Israeli occupation.

He accused Israel of exploiting a period of calm created bya recent short-lived truce by Palestinian factions "toassassinate the leadership of Palestinian groups...and tocontinue to carry out provocative practices which led to theignition of a cycle of violence", Mubarak said.

Referring to Egypt's own experience with Israeli occupationof the Sinai peninsula, which ended through negotiation in theyears after the October War, Mubarak said: "Expansionist desiresand...occupation and colonialism cannot lead to peace andstability, but will lead to violence, destruction and hatredbetween peoples, societies and religions."Mubarak says Arafat's removal will not serve peace