The Egyptian Prime Minister, General Mamdouh Muhammad Salem, met the president of the European Economic Community (EEC) Monsieur Francois-Xavier Ortoli of France, in Cairo yesterday (7 June).
The Egyptian Prime Minister, General Mamdouh Muhammad Salem, met the president of the European Economic Community (EEC) Monsieur Francois-Xavier Ortoli of France, in Cairo yesterday (7 June). The meeting was seen as a move to end the deadlock between western European nations and the Arab World on the Palestinian question - and a chance to discuss the Lebanese crisis.
SYNOPSIS: The Cairo meeting between the Egyptian Prime Minister and Monsieur Ortoli came on the eve of an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers on the Lebanese situation. The latest crisis caused by Syria's military intervention was expected to be high on the agenda. However, no communique was issued on the talks between General Salem and Monsieur Ortoli which were also expected to cover the Palestinian question. Last month, a conference between the Arab League and the Common Market, designed to increase mutual co-operation, ended with both sides still far apart on the Palestinian issue. The central question then was how to treat the Palestine Liberation Organisation - the PLO. The League insisted the PLO should be recognised by the EEC as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
However, the Europeans turned down the demand - and another that the EEC should press Israel to withdraw from occupied Arab lands. The two political issues have dominated discussions between the two groups for some time. However, Reuters reporting from Cairo, noted a significant development in Egyptian-Palestinian relations with the re-opening of the Cairo based Palestinian radio station. Previously the station was closed by the Egyptian Government. This followed the outspoken broadcasts attacking Egypt, after the Sinai dis-engagement agreement with Israel. Now, with Syria under attack from the Palestinians, Reuters observed that Egypt was moving back into favour with the PLO. Such a move, EEC officials argue, may help break the deadlock which has stalled the co-operation talks between the Common Market and the Arab World. However, Egypt may also be seeking European support for its efforts to resolve the Lebanese crisis.