Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who is in the United States for talks, says Arab nations would recognize Israel only after a just and comprehensive Mideast peace deal is reached.
Mr. Mubarak told Egypt's state-run newspaper al-Ahram that Israel must halt settlement construction and resume peace negotiations with Palestinians, before Arab countries can normalize ties with the Jewish state.
President Mubarak is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington Monday, and to hold talks with President Obama Tuesday.
The Egyptian leader told the newspaper some Arab countries that exchanged representatives and trade offices with Israel might consider re-opening those offices if Israel commits to a settlement freeze.
During a visit to the region last month, U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell called on Arab states to take "meaningful steps" to normalize relations with Israel. (VOA-news)