Hosni MubarakPresident Hosni Mubarak of Egypt said today that while his country wants to improve its relations with the rest of the Arab world, it would not do so “at the expense of our relations with Israel.”

Mubarak, interviewed from Cairo on the NBC-TV “Today” program, insisted that Egypt would not abandon the peace process with Israel after Israel completes its withdrawal from Sinai. “We are not going to change our policy after the 25th of April,” the deadline for Israel’s departure, he said.

Mubarak apparently was addressing himself to fears expressed in certain Israeli quarters that once Egypt has regained all of Sinai, it would move more slowly to the peace process if not abandon it altogether. On the contrary, the Egyptian leader said, his country’s continued good relations with Israel “may help the peace process in the right way.”

He recalled that “I have said several times since I was elected that our doors are open to our friends the Arabs, but not at the expense of our relations with Israel.” He added that “Israel is an existing state now, we can’t remove it.”