FM Levy Meets with Eegyptian Ambassador Bassiouny

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
27 October 1999

Foreign Minister David Levy met yesterday morning (Tuesday), 26.10.99, with Egyptian Ambassador Muhammad Bassiouny. During their working meeting, the two men discussed Egypt’s objections to the resumption of the multilateral talks until contacts between Israel and Syria have been renewed.

Foreign Minister Levy told Ambassador Bassiouny that "it is impossible to understand the logic behind Egyptian efforts to delay the multilateral process. It is clear to all parties that we are interested in making progress with the Syrians, but, even in the past, the Syrians were not involved in the multilateral process. When we met in New York, Foreign Minister Amr Moussa told me that progress with the Syrians did not constitute a pre-condition — but with the passage of time, it has become clear that we are talking about a significant delay."

The Foreign Minister added: "The delays in the multilateral talks represent not only an incorrect perspective of the process, but also a great loss to the region in general, and to the Palestinians in particular. This is a moment of opportunity for the international community – which must not be squandered, but rather leveraged, in order to reap the fruits of peace."

Ambassador Bassiouny responded that Egypt does not wish to condition multilateral progress on the resumption of negotiations with Syria, but that it would be desirable to wait until Syria also becomes part of the process. As such, during this preliminary phase, Egypt would support the convening of the professional committees — in order to maintain momentum — but would not agree to convene the steering committee until the talks with Syria are resumed.