Mubarak: Striking Iran will be a mistake

Egyptian president tells Channel 1 Egypt opposes nuclear power in ME, "whether it is Iran or Israel."

mubarak 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
mubarak 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
"Use of force against Iran will be a mistake," Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told Channel 1 on Tuesday. "Whether this force is used by the US or Israel it will lead to tragedy." The Egyptian president said however that Egypt was opposed to a nuclear power in the region "whether it is Iran of Israel." Regarding the Gilad Schalit issue, Mubarak said his country was making great efforts to secure the captured soldier's freedom but warned against linking his release to the Gaza truce. "Why mix the issues? Is it better to fire at each other even if Schalit is not released?" Nevertheless, Mubarak voiced optimism that the Schalit issue would be resolved, saying it was "only a matter of time" before he is freed, and calling for patience and "careful consideration" He stressed that the truce was in both Israel and Hamas's interests, warning both sides against falling into a blame game for cease-fire violations. Seeming to contradict earlier reports of an announcement by Egypt that it would not open the Rafah border crossing until Schalit is returned to Israel, Mubarak refused to make such a commitment. He also said concerns that Hamas would smuggle Schalit out of Gaza if the crossing was reopened were unfounded. "There is no way this can be done secretly... everyone will know about it." He reiterated that Egypt was doing its utmost to stop weapons smuggling. Mubarak went on to say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was "the heart of the problems in the Middle East" and said if it is resolved, other issues in the region would be solved much more quickly. He said Egypt "strongly backed," what he termed "preparation talks" between Israel and Syria.