Egypt - Foreign policy

Murabak has worked diligently for peace within the region. So much so that in recognition of his internal role as a peace leader, he was twice elected as the Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), during the periods of 1989-1990 and 1993-1994. Upon taking over from Sadat, Mubarak reconfirmed his commitment to the Camp David Peace Accord and to the peace process with Israel. Although relations have occasionally been cool, Egypt remains one of only two Arab nations at peace with Israel, and is a leading player in the effort to resolve differences between Israel and the Palestinian state. The 1993 Oslo agreement between Israel and the Palestinians led to an interim agreement which was negotiated in Egypt in 1995. Egyptian-Israeli relations were strained during the 1996 to 1999 tenure of hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel's prime minister, especially over the Israeli government's efforts to build housing for settlers at Har Homa outside Jerusalem. But with the elections of Ehud Barak (1999) and Ariel Sharon (2001), the Egyptian and Israeli leaders began to hold talks as part of a wider effort at revitalizing the Middle East peace process. In 2002, as violence escalated in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mubarak offered to host talks between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon at any time, though that offer was not accepted. Mubarak has been working closely with foreign government leaders in efforts to secure some sort of peace agreements in the area. In December 2002, he called on U.S. president George W. Bush to put a stop to Israel's violence against the Palestinians, as well as Israel itself to seek a negotiated end to the conflict rather than a military one.

Mubarak has developed a significant advisory relationship with the United States concerning actions in the region and has become an important U.S. ally. In 2001, Murabak offered firm support to the United States as President George W. Bush initiated the War on Terror by dispatching troops to fight in Afghanistan against terrorist al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. The attacks came as a response to major terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001 that targeted the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the World Trade Center in New York. However, Mubarak has cautioned the United States to more seriously consider the effects of continued U.S. aid and support of Israel and the build-up of the Israeli military as the situation in Israel-Palestine escalates and as the United States makes future plans for strikes against terrorism in nearby countries, such as Iraq.

Towards the end of 2002, Mubarak seemed convinced that the United States would attack Iraq, a plan he condemned. While acknowledging that Arab leaders had little influence in preventing the conflict, he stated his fear that conflict with Iraq would likely spread throughout the Middle East, and that oil production would be interrupted. Mubarak also stressed that he would prefer to see the United States deepen its commitment to resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict than to attack Iraq.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: