President Hosni Mubarak said he is willing to visit Israel if the Jewish state shows flexibility in promoting peace and agrees to take part in an international Middle East peace conference, according to an interview published Saturday.
"I am still saying that I am ready to travel to Israel provided that this would lead to real progress on the road to solving the Middle East problem," Mubarak told the Egyptian newspaper Al Massa.The remarks represented the second time in less than a week that Mubarak had expressed readiness to make a peace visit to Israel.
In an interview Dec. 24 with the Kuwaiti newspaper l,Anba, Mubarak said he was prepared to travel to Israel if the visit would promote a solution of the Palestinian problem and a just Middle East peace.
The offer was initially embraced by Israel, but later two of Mubarak's senior foreign policy aides said the visit was contingent on the Jewish state opening negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization. Israel rejects the PLO as a negotiating partner despite the United States' decision Dec. 14 to open a dialogue with the group.