'Settlement expansion harms peace talks'

Mubarak: Negotiations can only continue if construction stops; calls for int'l pressure on Israel.

Mubarak 248 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Mubarak 248 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
According to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the continuation of construction in settlements will hurt the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday evening, Mubarak said that "if we are not able to stop building in the settlements we will not be able to continue with negotiations." "Settlement expansion is a dangerous issue which complicates the peace process." He said. He called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to cease construction in order to advance negotiations with the Palestinians. "If Israel does not stop construction," he continued, "we will not be about to sustain serious negotiations." Israel Radio quoted Mubarak as saying that "Cairo is trying to sponsor a cease-fire agreement in the Gaza Strip with the support of all Palestinians." He added that Israel's stance on the topic is as yet unclear, and that Egypt is waiting for an Israeli emissary to arrive in order to hear the Palestinian stance.