Netanyahu aide: Israel, Egypt to preserve peace deal

After violence forces evacuation of Israeli Embassy in Cairo, PM's spokesman says both countries working to maintain peace, Netanyahu seeking to return ambassador to Egypt "soon, under appropriate security arrangements."

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
September 10, 2011 19:32
2 minute read.
Protesters gather outside Israeli Embassy in Cairo

Protesters gather outside Israeli Embassy in Cairo 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

 
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Israel and Egypt are working to preserve the landmark peace accord they signed in 1979, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's spokesman said on Saturday after rioting forced the evacuation of Israel's Cairo embassy.

"There is a new Egyptian administration with which we are fully and painstakingly coordinating. And it is the intent of this Egyptian administration, as it is that of the government of Israel, to preserve the peace that has been preserved for more than 30 years," spokesman Roni Sofer said.

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Speaking on Army Radio, Sofer said Netanyahu sought to return Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon to Egypt "soon, under the appropriate security arrangements".

Sofer commended Egyptian forces for extricating six guards who had been besieged by hundreds of protesters at the embassy but said Israel was not yet "turning the page" on the unprecedented incident.

Israel Radio quoted Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as praising Israeli security personnel who protected the embassy against the attacks. He stated that they acted like heroes and remained calm under pressure.

Lieberman also thanked US President Barack Obama for intervening and helping to diffuse the situation.

Earlier on Saturday, Netanyahu said that the situation could have been much more severe if the protesters had succeeded in breaking through the last door and reaching the Israeli security guards hiding within.



"I am glad that we succeeded in avoiding danger," he said.

Netanyahu thanked Obama and the Egyptian forces for their help in extracting the security guards from the embassy during what he termed a "blatant violation of international norms."

"Egypt cannot ignore this hard hit to peace with Israel," the prime minister warned.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said in a statement that "the break-in into the Israeli embassy in Cairo was a very serious event in Egyptian-Israeli relations."

"Peace between Israel and Egypt is of strategic interest to both states and we need to preserve it," she added.

Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Shaul Mofaz also responded to the attack, saying that Israeli and Egyptian leadership must work to preserve and strengthen the peace agreement between the two countries.

The storming of the embassy is the new "painful and evil" definition of Israeli-Egyptian relations for the future, Mofaz added.

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