CAIRO, JAN. 24 -- President Hosni Mubarak said again today that he believes Israel has the right to defend itself against Iraqi attack, but he told reporters here he has asked Israeli officials "to display self-restraint because we don't want the war to spread."
"Every state in the world has the right to defend itself according to the U.N. charter," Mubarak said at a brief news conference after addressing a special session of the Egyptian parliament. He added that he did not think Iraqi Scud missile attacks posed a serious military threat to Israel but were rather an attempt to make it seem that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is fighting to defend Islam.
"The aim of these missiles is to involve Israel in this war, to win the sympathy of the Islamic world and to give the impression this is a Zionist war against Islam," Mubarak said.
Earlier, in a 2 1/2-hour speech to the People's Assembly, Mubarak ruled out any pause in the Persian Gulf War unless Iraq withdraws its forces from Kuwait. "The wheels of war have started to turn and will not stop until Iraq agrees to accept the resolutions of the Arab summit in Cairo last August and the United Nations Security Council resolutions," Mubarak said. "Otherwise, the world community will not listen to anyone proposing a cease-fire."
The Egyptian president also made clear that his decision to commit troops to the U.S.-led military coalition opposing Iraq was made at the request of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd. "I did not receive a request from the Americans to send troops to an Arab country," Mubarak said. "We have sent troops to the gulf because we are adhering to the joint Arab defense pact."
The 1951 joint pact provides for Arab states collectively or individually to send troops to aid any Arab nation facing aggression.
Mubarak said he would have done the same if Iraq had come under attack. "Had Iraq come under foreign or Arab invasion, we would have adopted exactly the same stance," he said.