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Mubarak Affirms Support for U.S.

September 24, 2001

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PARIS (AP) _ Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Monday he supports a U.S.-led effort to root out global terrorism, but urged the United States to carefully analyze the situation before retaliating.

``In general terms, we support fighting terrorism anywhere in the world,″ Mubarak told reporters after a meeting with French President Jacques Chirac. ``We would support the United States anyway, because we have suffered from terrorism and learned a lot. We have very good experience in that.″

Mubarak also criticized the decision by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday to veto a meeting between Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

``Postponing this meeting is a very silly act ... without sitting and negotiating, the problem will be much more complicated in the future,″ he said.

Sharon unexpectedly vetoed the meeting, saying the Palestinians had not met the condition of restoring calm for 48 hours beforehand.

In his 45-minute meeting with Chirac, which focused largely on the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Mubarak expressed hope that the United States would move cautiously before retaliating, according to Chirac’s spokeswoman, Catherine Colonna.

The Egyptian leader told reporters he had no proof about who carried out the attacks, ``but perhaps the Americans do.″

U.S. intelligence officials say they have evidence linking Saudi exile Osama bin Laden to the attacks, and Bush administration officials said Sunday that they will soon make evidence pointing to his involvement public.

In an interview with the daily French newspaper Le Figaro published on Saturday, Mubarak said any U.S. retaliation that caused innocent people to die would fuel greater hatred against the United States and any allies who participate in the coalition.

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