|Mubarak : Repeated Calls for International Terrorism Conference Were Ignore|
Mubarak : Repeated Calls for International Terrorism Conference Were Ignored
President Hosni Mubarak, in his exclusive interview with Christian Malar, indicates he has long been a champion of an international conference on Terrorism, and, given current tensions in the Middle East, an attack on Iraq anytime soon, would only exacerbate regional and global tensions and deepen the resolve of Terrorist groups. Source: France 3 TV Corporation, Paris, July 25, 2002.
Christian Malar: Again, thank you very much Mr President. Before the recent attack in Gaza, both Fatah, including Yasser Arafat, and Hamas, gave indication they were prepared to stop attacking Israeli civilians. Do you believe Prime Minister Sharon is trying to torpedo any chance of resuming negotiations?
President Mubarak: After careful analysis of the situation, it may appear that Prime Minister Sharon is not eager to have the situation resolved. Fatah, on the other hand, has been giving indications that it would like to freeze all violence. This recent Israeli attack, however, gives the impression that Sharon is not in favour of a freeze. This, in essence, appears to be the problem.
Christian Malar: Do you believe, Mr President, that the Israelis want peace in the end?
President Mubarak: Regarding the Israeli government, if the government wanted peace, I believe it capable of working for peace. But to continue the destruction and killing will never bring regional stability and peace. This approach will harden both Israelis and Palestinians and possibly lead to further destruction in the region -- a very dangerous situation.
Christian Malar: Do you have the feeling, Mr President, that George W. Bush is determined to attack Iraq between October 2002 and January 2003 as many heads of States seem to believe?
President Mubarak: I have my doubts because I know the president of the United States, George W. Bush. I know him very well and he understands the situation perfectly well. I don't think he is going to launch an attack now, because, launching an attack on Iraq in this specific period of time is very dangerous. You already have problems in the Middle East, including the Palestinian and Israelis conflict; then when you attack the Iraqis, public opinion in this part of the World would sympathise with the people of Iraq and the Palestinians. An attack would create more problems and would deepen hatred towards Americans and Israelis. So I think, such a thing should be thoroughly studied before taking such a decision -- It needs wisdom.
Christian Malar: Mr President, if we consider both the situation in the Middle East and the risk of an Allied attack on Iraq, do you think this could strengthen the determination of Muslim Fundamentalist groups to attack established governments all over the World, or even lead to a general conflict in the Middle East?
President Mubarak: I believe that leaving the Middle East problem unresolved and ever more complicated, and then attacking Iraq, is a good guarantee that extremist groups will be more active against all of us, regardless of what continent we live on.
Christian Malar: In six weeks from now, Mr President, the United States will celebrate the first anniversary of the tragedy of September 11. What is your current assessment of the war against "global terrorism"?
President Mubarak: Fighting terrorism is a very long process. We have to study the underlying causes and find solutions to the major problems, in order to lessen tensions and provide fewer opportunities for terrorist groups to go about their work. The war on terrorism is not just limited to Afghanistan. As I’ve said on numerous occasions over the last 10 years, without much support from others, we should have had an international conference on this subject. Now, however, it is more difficult to plan such a conference. Nevertheless, we need to discuss this problem both widely and wisely to ensure good decisions are made to prevent further terrorism.
Christian Malar: I share your hope wisdom will prevail. God bless you Mr President. Thank you very much for granting me this interview.
Excerpts in French aired on French TV Channel 3:
Recent Interviews on the Middle-East on French TV 3:
Courtesy Christian Malar, Editor-in-Chief and Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, and France 3 Television Corporation, Paris.