(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Israel’s ties with Egypt might be on the line after Amos Gilad, head of the
Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic- Security Bureau and long an envoy to Cairo, said
that President Hosni Mubarak is a figure more of the past than the
Gilad’s comments were recorded in a US diplomatic cable released
by WikiLeaks last week and published on Sunday night about a meeting he and
other top Israeli officials held with Under Secretary for Arms Control and
International Security Ellen Tauscher in December 2009.
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Tauscher was in
Israel for talks ahead of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference
that President Barack Obama was planning to hold in May.
meetings, the parties discussed Egyptian plans to turn the conference into a
stage to slam Israel’s nuclear program. Gilad, who has served under a number of
governments as an envoy to Egypt on security issues, raised concerns about the
eventual end of Mubarak’s rule, usually a taboo topic.
to the cable, said that Mubarak was “approaching the past more quickly than the
He also said that the Egyptian president did not have confidence
in his foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
At the same meeting, Gilad
revealed that Russia had offered to cancel the sale of the S-300 advanced
surfaceto- air missile system to Iran in exchange for a billion dollars worth of
Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles. As reported by The Jerusalem Post last year,
Gilad said that Israel was willing to sell UAVS to Russia but not its most
advanced models since, according to the cable, they “would likely end up in the
hands of the Chinese.”
During her trip, Tauscher also met with Shaul
Horev, head of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, who revealed that contrary to
Jordanian allegations, Israel was not trying to sabotage the kingdom’s attempts
to build a nuclear reactor. Such claims were made by Jordanian King Abdullah in
an interview with The Wall Street Journal in June.
During the meeting,
Horev told Tauscher that Israel had decided not to oppose construction of the
reactor and that the government had offered the Jordanians assistance in
choosing the best location for it.
Horev said the Atomic Energy
Commission had formed a steering committee with its Jordanian counterpart
comprised of three working groups focusing on safety, geological surveys and
water issues. Horev said the steering committee first met in Amman in June 2009.