Egypt's former President Mubarak denies having approved 1983 plan to resettle Palestinians in Sinai

Ahram Online , Thursday 30 Nov 2017

Mubarak and Thatcher
A file photo of Late UK PM Margaret Thatcher and former Egyptian president Mubarak in his visit to London in 1982 (Photo:AFP)

Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak denied in a statement on Wednesday a BBC Arabic report claiming that he agreed in the 1980s to resettle Palestinians in Egypt.

"I completely deny accepting any resettlement of any part of the Palestinian population in Egypt, particularly the Palestinian population in Lebanon in 1983," Mubarak said, adding that he rejected all subsequent attempts and suggestions about resettlement as well.

The former president's statement was released on the pro-Mubarak and anti-January 2011 revolution Facebook page "I am sorry President Mubarak."

Earlier on Wednesday the BBC published a report on its Arabic news website alleging that the former Egyptian president accepted an offer made during a 1983 meeting with British PM Margret Thatcher to resettle Palestinians from Lebanon to Egypt  following the Israeli invasion of Beirut in 1982.

The report is based on documents recently revealed by the UK's National Archives about a meeting between Mubarak and British officials upon his return from Washington in February 1983.

In his statement, ousted President Mubarak listed what he had done as the president of Egypt during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and how he withdrew the Egyptian ambassador from Tel Aviv to object to that invasion.

He also mentioned how Egypt secured the exit of the Palestinian fighters of Palestinian Liberation Organization "PLO" in Beirut, including Yasser Arafat.

"During that time, some parties wanted to convince me to resettle the Palestinians in Lebanon in Egypt which I had rejected completely," Mubarak said in his statement, adding that in 2010 the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanhyu had also proposed a resettlement of Palestinians in Sinai, which he also rejected.

"I have been holding to a principle all my life which is never to give up any inch of Egypt's territory, the occupied parts of which my generation fought to restore in 1967 until the complete return of Taba to Egyptian sovereignty," he concluded in the statement.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was ousted during the January revolution 2011 after ruling Egypt for three decades.

On Tuesday, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry criticized Israeli Minister of Social Equality Gila Gamliel for issuing a statement calling for an alternative Palestinian state to be established in the Sinai Peninsula, saying that Egypt firmly rejects any kind of "talk or thoughts" that undermine Egypt's territorial sovereignty.

Egypt has consistently maintained its support for a two-state solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict along the 1967 borders.

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