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Cablegate: Egyptian Government and Arab League Public

VZCZCXRO4933
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #2207 1981518
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 171518Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6165
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS CAIRO 002207

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EG IS
SUBJECT: EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT AND ARAB LEAGUE PUBLIC
REACTION TO THE PRESIDENT'S JULY 17 SPEECH

1. The official Egyptian and Arab League initial public
reactions to the President's July 16 speech on the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict were mostly favorable. Egyptian
Presidential Spokesman Soliman Awwad said (according to an
unofficial embassy translation) that, as President Mubarak
has repeatedly noted, the Palestinian issue is the root cause
of the problems in the Middle East. The "road to Baghdad
leads through Jerusalem," he said, and the coming days will
require "serious international movement" to realize President
Bush's vision. Awwad praised President Bush's "clear call"
upon Israeli Prime Minister Olmert to release all funds to
the Palestinian people and to cease illegal settlement
activity. Awwad said Egypt supports President Bush's call
for Israel to stop building the isolation barrier, which
divides Palestinian lands in a way that does not permit the
Palestinian people to establish their state.

2. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit also praised
several "positive elements" of the speech that could be built
upon, particularly the need to "end the occupation" and
establishment of a viable, territorially-integrated
Palestinian state. He welcomed additional US economic
assistance for the Palestinian people, but noted that removal
of settlements on Palestinian lands, as opposed to merely
stopping expansion, is necessary, and added that any
settlement must be based on the "1967 borders." He commended
the U.S. administration's "interest" in the Arab Peace
Initiative, and said that the current situation should compel
both sides to return to negotiations on final status issues
immediately.

3. Arab League Secretary General Amre Moussa issued a
statement "welcoming several positive elements" of the
speech, especially regarding the President's view that Israel
should stop settlement expansion and remove illegal outposts,
"end the occupation," and reach agreement on final status
issues such as Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. He also
welcomed the financial assistance package that the President
announced for the Palestinian people.

RICCIARDONE

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