The head of the Arab League has refused to endorse Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's Mideast peace proposal and said the Arab world still believes that its so-called Fez plan offers the best chance of achieving a settlement in the Middle East.
"We are sticking to the initiative adopted at Fez...as the sole platform likely to bring about a settlement between Israel and the Arab world," said league Secretary General Chedli Klibi, speaking for the organization that represents all Arab states except Egypt.
Klibi made his comments during an interview Monday when asked why Arab nations, almost without exception, have remained silent on Mubarak's initiative, which the Egyptian president discussed Tuesday with President Reagan during a White House meeting.
Mubarak is urging the United States to begin a dialogue with a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation that could later be expanded to include direct negotiations with Israel. Arab governments generally favor involving the United States in a dialogue, but most believe that any dealings with Israel should be held under the auspices of an international conference--an idea rejected by Israel and the United States.
'Blunder of 1977-78'
"It is our most serious wish that the friends of Israel, especially the United States, should not repeat the blunder of 1977-78," Klibi said in an apparent reference to the Camp David process and accords between Egypt and Israel. Most Arabs viewed that agreement as a separate peace treaty between Egypt and Israel that acted to the detriment of Palestinian interests.
The seven-point Fez plan, adopted at an Arab League summit in Fez, Morocco, in September, 1982, called for a Palestinian homeland in return for the right of "all states in the region" to live in peace with secure borders. Klibi and other moderate Arabs insist that this represents recognition of Israel's right to exist and is based on the U.N.-supported principle of trading occupied land for peace.
"If Israel really is serious in its policy toward Arab countries," Klibi said, "it must understand that Fez offers security guarantees for all states and allows a settlement of the Palestinian people's rights based on international law."