Know More About Palestine

Sunday Feb. 13, 2011 8:16 PM (EST+7)
On US TV, Egypt, Israel officials stress continuity

Read more: Egypt, United States, Israel, peace treaty, Hosni Mubarak, media

WASHINGTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Egypt's envoy to the United States said on Sunday his country's peace treaty with Israel would stand because it benefited Egypt, while Israel's defense minister said he did not see any risk to their bilateral relationship.

Both officials, in appearances on US news talk shows, stressed continuity in the wake of the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Friday, which left deep uncertainty and huge challenges for America's Middle East policy.

Egypt's ambassador to the United States, Sameh Shoukry, told ABC'S This Week the Israeli peace treaty has been beneficial to his country for 30 years and he expected it to remain in place, as military leaders in Cairo have stated.

We have derived a peace dividend from the treaty, Shoukry said. We've been able to establish security and stability in the region. And I believe it is a main element in terms of our foreign policy.

Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in a taped interview on the same program, expressed wariness about Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood's potential strength in any elections there but said he said he did not see a threat to Israeli-Egypt ties.

I don't think that the relationship between Israel and Egypt ... is under any risk or that any kind of operational risk is waiting us just behind the corner, he told ABC.

Barak said he did not think Egypt's uprising was something similar to the Iranian events that created a hard-line Islamic state that is a dedicated foe of Israel.

It was not something that was organized by extremist groups of Muslim radical origins, he said.

I think that they have to listen to voices from the rest of the world.

While noting the Muslim Brotherhood was not the instigator of the protests that unseated Mubarak, Barak voiced his country's wariness that the group was better-placed than the idealist protesters to win early elections in Egypt.

Later on, sooner or later, the only group which is coherent, focused, ready to kill and be killed if necessary takes power, he said. That should be avoided in Egypt because that could be a catastrophe for the whole region.

Barak added, however, that, We should not very easily compare them to ... the most extremist groups ... it's an Egyptian version. Many of them are less extremist.

Shoukry told ABC that Egypt's interests dictated its ties to the United States and that Washington could count on Cairo's support in the region.

These issues are driven by mutual interest, by Egyptian interests, and interest remains a close association to the United States, he said. (Reporting by Paul Eckert; Editing by Bill Trott)






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