Gilad: Mubarak a figure of past, not future

Latest WikiLeaks release shows Israeli atomic chief told US official Tauscher, country is working with Jordan on building nuke reactor.

Hosni Mubarak (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Hosni Mubarak
(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 future.
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.
During the 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.
Gilad, according to the cable, said that Mubarak was “approaching the past more quickly than the future.”
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.