Cairo avoids upsetting Arabs

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak appears adamant that he will not visit Jerusalem as part of a one-day working visit to Israel.

Foreign Minister Kamal Hassan Ali said in an interview with the Monitor that all contacts on the subject have been suspended for the time being. He added that Egypt had decided not to react publicly to a what it feels is a provocative Israeli Cabinet statement saying that the ''idea of the visit'' will be ''given up'' if Mubarak insists on his condition.

Egypt, like virtually all other countries, does not recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And by refusing to go there, Mr. Mubarak intends to avoid an upsurge of Arab anger similar to that triggered by Anwar Sadat's visit to the holy city in November 1977. The Egyptian leader is seen here as particularly keen not to upset what Cairo has sensed lately is an implicit yet uneasy acceptance of its peace with Israel.

Egyptian reluctance about the Mubarak visit has been growing for some time. Cairo was deeply embarrassed last summer when Israel attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor three days after an Egyptian-Israeli summit. Now Cairo is worried about Israeli hints of readiness to strike against Palestinian sites in south Lebanon.

Meanwhile, the Monitor has learned that President Mubarak has sent messages to President Reagan and other Western heads of state restating Egypt's commitment to peace. Israeli Foreign Minister was given similar reassurances in Cairo last week. But he was also told that Egypt felt this did not preclude improving relations with the Arabs.

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