Mustafa Khalil, a former Egyptian prime minister who was an architect of the 1979 Camp David peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, has died. He was 88.
Khalil died late Saturday in a Cairo hospital, where he was being treated for an unspecified illness, the Egyptian state news agency, MENA, said.
Khalil, as former secretary-general of the ruling Arab Socialist Union party, accompanied then-President Anwar Sadat in his historic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977. The visit paved the way for the negotiations mediated by then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
Khalil, who served as prime minister from 1978-1980, then headed the Egyptian team in negotiations with the Israelis at Camp David, which ended with the 1979 peace deal, the first between an Arab nation and Israel.
"Khalil contributed in serving the country for over 50 years and took part in making peace and building the basis of development," former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali told MENA in reaction to Khalil's death.
"We continued negotiations together that ended in the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty that launched the peace process in the region," said Boutros-Ghali, who _ as deputy prime minister for foreign affairs _ also went with Sadat on the Jerusalem trip and participated in the negotiations.
Dan Meridor, a former Israeli Cabinet secretary, said Khalil's role at Camp David was essential.
"He was one of those who helped shift the Middle East from an era of conflict to an era of stability and peace," said Meridor, who was a Cabinet secretary to former Israeli prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir in the early 1980s.
More recently, Khalil served as deputy chairman of ruling National Democratic Party. He stepped down in November.
He is survived by his wife, Nehal, a son, Hisham, and a daughter, Zeinab. President Hosni Mubarak was expected to attend Khalil's funeral, scheduled for Monday, state newspapers reported.
Associated Press writer Beth Marlowe contributed to this report from Jerusalem.