Morsy says he'll 'review' peace treaty with Israel

In interview with Iranian media, Egyptian President-elect says he wants to restore ties with the Islamic Republic.

June 25, 2012 16:11
2 minute read.
Sadat, Carter, Begin (L to R)

Sadat, Carter, Begin_150. (photo credit: Couretsy the Jimmy Carter Library)


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In an interview with a news agency believed to be linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, Egypt's new president-elect, Mohammed Morsi, has said he plans to "review" the country's 1979 Camp David peace treaty with Israel.

The Egyptian president-elect said his country's policy towards Israel would be "one of equality because we are no less than [the Israelis] in any way," and that he planned to discuss with Israel the issue of the Palestinian right of return.

"Of course all this will be done though the government and the cabinet because I alone will not make any decision," Morsi added.

Morsi's comments to Fars, which the Iranian news outlet said were made during an interview in Cairo hours before the official runoff results were declared on Sunday, contrasted with promises he made during his presidential campaign to honor Egypt's international treaties, including its peace treaty with Israel.

However, Morsi has raised the issue of Camp David several times before, threatening in February to "review the peace treaty with Israel if US cuts aid [to Egypt]."

The peace treaty remains a lynchpin of US Middle East policy and, despite its unpopularity with many Egyptians, was staunchly upheld by Mubarak, who also suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood movement to which Morsy belongs.

In the interview, Fars said Morsi called to restore ties between Teheran and Cairo, which he said would create a "strategic balance" in the region.

"[We must] resume development of areas of political and economic cooperation, because this will create a "strategic balance" in the region," Morsi said. "This is part of my plan."

In response to a question regarding Iran's support of the Egyptian revolution and Iranian-Egyptian ties, Morsi said that Egypt "must have normal relations with Iran based on the countries' mutual interests."

Iran cut all ties with Egypt in 1980, a year after the Islamic Revolution and after the Camp David accords.

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Even though Iran is a predominantly Shi'ite country and the Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni Islam group, the Islamic Republic has expressed its support for the Egyptian revolution.

Notably, Hamas, which has received considerable material support from Iran, is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Also in contrast to Morsi's statements to Fars, in an interview published in Iran's ASRIran news website on June 21, Morsi is cited as saying he would "adhere to the agreement with Israel." ASR Iran took that interview from Kuwaiti newspaper al-Kuwaitiah, where it appeared ahead of the runoff elections on June 16.

In the al-Kuwaitiah interview, Morsi denied as "pure imagination and slander" reports that the Muslim Brotherhood has links with Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah.

"We respect the right of the Palestinian people in its resistance against the Israeli occupier, and we do not see anything wrong with that," Morsi told the Kuwaiti newspaper. "However, we will never stand with any forces that threaten the Persian Gulf countries."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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