Looking past Sinai pullout

In an address to a joint session of the upper and lower houses of parliament, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak made the clearest statement yet on Egyptian commitment to Gulf security since the Iran-Iraq war broke out 18 months ago, Monitor contributor Olfat M. El Tohamy writes.

He described peace established between Egypt and Israel as setting an example for other states in the region to follow and called on Israel to honor its legal commitments.

Mr. Mubarak outlined Egypt's role during the post-peace era:

* Relations with Israel: ''The future of peace hinges on increasing the number of those who believe in it,'' Mr. Mubarak said, ''removing deep-seated suspicions, destroying obstacles, and. . . sowing hope and confidence in the place of suspicion and despair.''

* Regional role: The Egyptian Army is ''the shield of the Arab nation and the African continent,'' he said, reminding challengers of Egypt's status in the region that it has sacrificed 100,000 men and spent badly needed money to defend the Palestinian cause. He expressed hope the Iran-Iraq war would cease, showing readiness to act as a mediator.

* Domestic conditions: To critics impatient with the slow progress so far in solving economic problems, the President warned that peace will not bring an automatic improvement in domestic conditions, but he promised to continue the dialogue he started with opposition groups to secure approval of his policies.

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