The official spokesman of the Palestine National Council said today, "We would welcome a meeting" between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Ahmad Abdul Rahman told journalists that a new executive committee to be elected in the next few days "will be authorized to hold discussions on official relations between Egypt and the PLO" and that any summit meeting would "depend on these discussions."
Although Rahman stressed that such a meeting would "not be on the basis of Camp David," the accords that led to Egypt's separate peace with Israel, the spokesman repeatedly refused to clarify just what his phrase meant. The public statement followed nine hours of secret talks held last week between Arafat and leading Egyptian opposition figures to hammer out a new strategy.
In two late-night sessions last week, Arafat and his top associates took time off from the council--effectively a parliament-in-exile--to meet with more than a dozen major Egyptian opposition leaders representing a broad spectrum of political thought. Not included, however, was the fundamentalist Moslem opposition.
The common denominator of the group, which includes several former ministers, is past service with the late president Gamal Abdul Nasser and opposition to president Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated in October 1981 by fundamentalists after Sadat concluded the peace treaty with Israel.
Emerging from the encounters here was a formula for ongoing PLO ties with the Egyptian National Movement, the name of the Egyptian conferees' group, but leaving the nature of links with the Mubarak regime ambiguous.
The exact language has yet to be made public, but the opposition is to serve as the conduit to the Mubarak government--a move to avoid possible friction. The general drift is that the PLO should move toward the Egyptian government in the same degree that the Cairo regime distances itself from the Camp David accords.
This vague formulation reflects the Egyptian opposition's view, according to conference sources, that Mubarak should be encouraged to free himself from the Sadat-era influences still strong in the Egyptian government.
The Egyptians were reported to have been careful to couch their ideas in terms of possible options open to Arafat rather than telling him what they thought he should do, the sources added.