Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, visiting Washington D.C. for the first time in five years, said Arab recognition of Israel will come only after a peace agreement with the Palestinians is achieved, and not before.
The Egyptian leader said in remarks to the state-run Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, quoted by Reuters, that the delay of peace talks following the 1991 Madrid peace conference has made Arab leaders leery about recognizing Israel before an agreement is in place.
Mubarak will meet with President Barak Obama on Tuesday. The Obama Administration has been looking for concessions to Israel in the Arab world in exchange for concessions it is pressuring Israel to make, such as a freeze on all Jewish building in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and East Jerusalem.
Mubarak met with American Jewish leaders Monday, telling them that talks about a prisoner exchange between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas have advanced, and that the only item holding up the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is whether Israel will release some Hamas prisoners, including those who have been involved in terrorist killings, to the West Bank, rather than permanently exiling them to other places.
Sources: The Jerusalem Post, Israel Channel 10