Netanyahu, Peres reach out to Egypt's Mursi

Sources say PM sent Egyptian president secret letter; Peres emphasizes importance of maintaining the peace agreement.

Egypt's president-elect Mohamed Mursi 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS / Handout)
Egypt's president-elect Mohamed Mursi 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS / Handout)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres last week both sent letters to newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the two countries’ 1979 peace agreement.
Netanyahu sent a letter Thursday through diplomatic channels – an event so private that his office refused to confirm it had been dispatched.
Diplomatic sources, however, told The Jerusalem Post about the document, which expressed Netanyahu’s desire to see the continuation of cooperation and peace between the nations.
Peres sent a letter the same day as the prime minister – which his office made public only on Sunday, once it confirmed the letter’s arrival in Cairo.
“As someone who took part in the process that led to the peace agreement that was signed between my country and yours, I know that both Egypt and Israel attribute supreme importance to regional peace and stability – which serve the interests of all peoples in the region,” Peres wrote.
“All of us in Israel greatly respect Egypt and the Egyptian people, who have served as pioneers and have outlined the way of peace and reconciliation in the region, and we know that the work is not yet finished,” he said.
Peres congratulated Mursi not only on his victory but also on Egypt’s democratic elections. He expressed the hope that under Mursi’s leadership, the nation would face its complex challenges and continue to cooperate with Israel for the welfare of both peoples.
“Peace has saved the lives of countless young people in Egypt and in Israel,” wrote Peres. “The obligation toward the younger generation remains forever valid. As opposed to war, peace is a victory for both sides.”
After he was sworn in as president on Saturday, Mursi stated in an address at Cairo University that Egypt would stand by the Palestinian people until they regained their rights.
He added, however, that the country would also stand by its international treaties.
Still, speculation has mounted since Mursi’s runoff victory as to whether he would honor the treaty. Last week, upon hearing of his election, Netanyahu and Peres made public statements about the peace agreement’s importance.

Joanna Parasczcuk contributed to this report.

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