Egypt sets conditions to mediate Mideast peace
April 8, 1997
Web posted at: 11:43 a.m. EDT (1543 GMT)
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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Egypt said on Tuesday it was
willing to mediate to break a deadlock in the Middle East
peace process if Israel put on hold further Jewish
settlements in Palestinian territory.
The offer was made in New Delhi, India, on the last day of a
meeting by the 113-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Separately, in a declaration on reforms in the United
Nations, NAM demanded the elimination of the U.N. Security
Council's veto power, describing it as discriminatory.
Twice last month, the United States, one of five permanent
members of the Security Council, blocked resolutions telling
Israel to stop building houses for Jews in disputed East
Jerusalem, a traditionally Arab section of the city.
Also Tuesday, NAM urged member states to freeze diplomatic
ties with Israel at existing levels to force the Jewish state
to end the impasse in the peace process.
As the conference closed, Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr
Moussa was asked if his country was willing to accept the
role of mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian standoff over the
expansion of Jewish settlements.
"Any mediation should be based on the Israelis' putting a
hold on their policy of settlements. There can be no
compromise on this," Moussa said.
His remarks came a day after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
said a proposal by Israel to hold U.S.-led negotiations like
those at Camp David in 1978 would not solve the problems of
the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The NAM statement on the Security Council veto was a key part
of the non-aligned group's call for democratic reforms in the
United Nations that received backing on Monday from U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who attended the conference in
the Indian capital.
A proposal is pending in a U.N. working group to expand the
15-member Security Council, whose five permanent members have
the veto power to shoot down proposals without a majority in
The five permanent members are the United States, Britain,
China, France and Russia.
Leading members of the movement of developing countries say
that the veto power is often used to defeat proposals from
other nations in the U.N. General Assembly, in which all U.N.
members have equal representation.
South African Foreign Minister Alfred Nzo told a news
conference on Tuesday that the veto power was discriminatory.
"It is grossly undemocratic that the fortunes of millions of
people of the world are given to a few people to decide," Nzo
Reuters contributed to this report.
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