Thursday, February 24, 2000

U.S. special envoy Ross makes 1-day trip to Cairo to consult with Egyptian FM `Amr Musa. (MENA 2/24 in WNC 2/28)

PM Barak defends FM Levy's speech to the Knesset on 2/23, saying he is a voice of moderation, "his words illustrate the weighty responsibility we feel for Israel's security in the face of dangers that lie in wait for us when we enter the decisive stage of the peace process." (MM, NYT 2/25; WP 2/26; AYM 2/26 in WNC 2/29; MEI 3/10)

The Arab League announces that its next regular FMs mtg. will be held 3/11+n12 in Beirut, instead of Cairo, as a gesture of solidarity in support for Lebanon's "steadfastness in the face of ongoing Israeli aggression." (MM 2/24; al-Musawwar 3/3, MENA 3/5 in WNC 3/6; MM 3/8)

Pope John Paul II arrives in Egypt for 3-day visit, meets with Pres. Mubarak, calls for unity and tolerance among all religious groups. Meanwhile in Israel, a group of senior rabbis asks the pope to cancel plans to hold a daytime Saturday mass when he visits Nazareth in 3/25, saying it would cause "massive desecration "of the Jewish sabbath. Far-right Jewish groups put up posters in Jerusalem calling the pope "the wicked one," saying prayer service would be an act of "mass idolatry in the heart of Jerusalem." (ANSA [Rome], MENA 2/24, MENA 2/25 in WNC 2/28; MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/25; MENA 2/26 in WNC 2/29; WT 2/27, 2/29; JP 3/3)

After a mtg. with Barak in Jerusalem, French PM Lionel Jospin says that "France condemns Hizballah's [recent attacks on the IDF in s. Lebanon], and all types of terrorist attacks which may be carried out against soldiers or possibly Israel's civilian population." French pres. Jacques Chirac reprimands Jospin. (MM 2/25; WT 2/27; WP 2/28; Le Monde 2/28 in WNC 2/29; AYM 2/28 in WNC 3/1; al-Quds 2/29 in WNC 3/3; WJW 3/9; JP, MEI 3/10)