Mubarak: Shalit is Well


mubarakEgyptian President Hosni Mubarak said today he believed kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit was well and that he hoped the issue would not take a long time to resolve. “I believe there were contacts (with Gilad Shalit), and that soldier Shalit is fine, and I hope that in the upcoming period, maybe, not in the long term, the issue of soldier Shalit will end,” Mubarak said in a joint news conference with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Cairo.

According to Mubarak, “The Palestinian issue is the basis for peace. I stressed to President Peres that this issue will remain at the top of Egypt and the Arab world’s agenda, despite all the crises in the region.

“I expressed hope that Israel would heed the call for peace, stop construction in the settlements and the confiscation of lands. Now more than ever we need Israel’s will and courage to make tough decisions, and understand that the peace process will not tolerate another failure.”

Peres said, “We cannot miss this opportunity. The differences between us are not that great that they cannot be overcome.” He also emphasized Israel’s commitment to the two-state solution and said that Israel did not intend to build new settlements.

“Israel has no intention to rule over the Palestinian people. We have no intention to confiscate land, and we have no intention to build new settlements,” He said. He did not address the issue of building within existing settlements, which has been a key point of contention between Israel and the United States.

On his way to Egypt Peres lauded Egypt’s efforts to curb terror and arms smuggling through tunnels into Gaza.

The president told reporters accompanying him on his trip that Egypt has shown a significant improvement in tackling these two issues, and that the security cooperation between Cairo and Israel was working smoothly.

Peres discussed with Mubarak ways to promote a regional peace initiative, the cooperation between the two states and the negotiations over Shalit’s release.

The Israeli president met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday evening ahead of the Cairo summit, and was briefed on Israel’s messages to the Egyptian leader.

{Yair Israel/Ynet}