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Israeli President Ezer Weizman said Monday that "an ill wind is blowing from the Nile" after he was informed that Egypt backed out of an international conference because it is being held in Jerusalem.

The snub was a further blow to Israeli-Egyptian relations, already strained by Israel's refusal to meet Egyptian demands that it sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

At issue was an international conference of air traffic controllers in Jerusalem. Avi Hacohen, chairman of the air traffic controllers of Israel, said his Egyptian colleagues told him they wanted to come but were ordered by the government to stay home for "diplomatic reasons."

The future of Jerusalem is a key issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as a future capital, but Israel says it will never relinquish control over all of the city.

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