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Egyptian president says Israel is a dictatorship

The Associated Press 10/14/01 4:18 PM

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Israel is a dictatorship and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon knows only war and slaughter, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reportedly said Sunday.

Mubarak spoke in a meeting with Arab editors and senior journalists. His comments were reported by a participant, Ibrahim Nafie, the editor of Al-Ahram newspaper and the chairman of Egypt's Press Syndicate.

Recalling his talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday, Mubarak told the editors: "My message was clear. We should not let Sharon kill and destroy, and that's why you see that there are attacks against me in the Western press accusing me of dictatorship.

"The true dictatorship is in Israel, where the verdicts of the judiciary are not implemented and human rights do not exist," Mubarak said, according to Nafie.

A frequent mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, Mubarak has toughened his criticism of Israel's leadership in recent months as the Palestinian conflict deteriorated. On Sunday, he repeated an earlier criticism that the Israeli prime minister puts security before peace.

"Sharon doesn't know anything except war, killing and slaughter," he said.

Under Sharon, hopes of reaching a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have evaporated, Mubarak said.

He praised President Bush for his recent endorsement of a Palestinian state, but added this "should be translated into practical steps that include putting the peace process back on track."

The president has given prominence to his pursuit of a solution to the Palestinian question, apparently aiming to mute domestic criticism of his support for U.S. airstrikes on Afghanistan.

Asked whether America would extend the strikes to other states suspected of harboring terrorists, Mubarak said he did not think the United States would attack Arab countries.

Mubarak said he told Blair that Libya and Syria did not harbor terrorists. The U.S. State Department lists both countries as doing so.

Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of Mubarak's taking office after the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat by Islamic extremists. Human rights groups have criticized his government on numerous grounds, not least a failure to hold free and fair elections.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 14, 2001



-- jimmie-the-weed (, October 14, 2001.

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