Egypt Leader Agrees To Israel's Invitation

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said July 21 he accepted Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's invitation to visit Israel and that a new chapter in Egypt-Israel relations has begun. Mr. Mubarak also told a news conference held jointly with Mr. Rabin that Egypt and Israel can push forward the Arab-Israeli peace process.

But Mubarak said Israel must do more than suspend Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, home to 1.7 million Palestinians. The two leaders spoke with reporters after 90 minutes of private talks that they continued over a working lunch at the Kubbah presidential palace.

Neither he nor Rabin mentioned any concrete agreement, saying only that they had exchanged views. The summit was the first in six years between leaders of the neighboring nations.

Rabin and Mubarak want to continue the process that began in 1979, when Egypt signed the first and only peace treaty between Israel and an Arab nation. Jordan distances itself from Iraq

Jordan's King Hussein is quietly but dramatically distancing his kingdom from Iraq at the risk of angering his main oil supplier, officials and diplomats said. They said the king, labeled an apologist for Baghdad during the Gulf war, has become increasingly dismayed with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

He has taken what some officials call a risk of anger by Iraq, Amman's oil supplier, to crack down on contraband goods which Washington has said are flooding across the border in violation of United Nations sanctions.

Although many ordinary Jordanians still admire Saddam, there has been no great outcry in parliament or in the street over a recent tightening of the main supply line to Iraq since its defeat last year. "People are beginning to realize that the Gulf war was a nightmare," one official said. "The consensus has to shift, and it has shifted enough for us to start banning goods to Iraq."

"Our people realize that we are members of the United Nations and we have to respect our commitments," Information Minister Mahmoud al-Sharif told Reuters in a comment on the UN trade ban imposed after Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The king, who had tried to avert war in the Gulf, remained officially neutral. But passionate support for Iraq by Jordanians and the king's sympathy for Baghdad in the war led to accusations that he was serving as an apologist for Saddam.

Officials publicly deny any commitment to new measures after the king last month rejected a US plan to place UN inspectors at the desert border. But privately many confirm that new rules have squeezed shipments from building materials to even food.

King Hussein has raised the possibility with Washington that Iraq, which continues to provide Jordan with oil at below-market rates to repay debt incurred during the Iran-Iraq war, could cut the supply if Amman takes any action against it.

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