Gilad praises Tantawi and ruling Egyptian council

Diplomatic-security bureau head says stability in Egypt due to Supreme Council efforts; says Tantawi committed to peace, natural gas agreements.

Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces “embodies” the best of Egypt and deserves the “full support of the world,” Amos Gilad, the head of the defense ministry’s diplomatic-security bureau said on Tuesday.
“I am very impressed by the stability and achievements of the Supreme Council,” Gilad said in a speech to journalists and diplomats at a symposium on the changing Middle East, sponsored by The Israel Project.
Gilad said that despite recent events in Egypt, there is stability in the country – something he attributed to the “smart leadership” of Mohamed Tantawi, who since February 11 has been the de facto head of the country.
The stability, he said, was due to Tantawis’ “smart and sophisticated use of power in [the] face of unprecedented events.”
Gilad, who has long been a key Israeli interlocutor with Egypt, added that the Supreme Council was committed to the peace agreement with Israel.
“This [agreement] is very important, a valuable asset,” he said.
Gilad also noted that the supply of natural gas from Egypt has been renewed, after being cut-off following an attack on the pipeline there in February – adding that the Egyptians are committed to upholding that agreement as well.
His comments came the day that Egypt’s ruling generals met with newspaper editors and Egypt’s official news agency, and said they would not let extremist Islamist groups take over the country.
The Egyptian general’s remarks came amid increasing apprehension that the well-organized Islamic groups – such as the Muslim Brotherhood – could win a dominant role in Egyptian politics following the secluded elections there in September.
Regarding reports that Egypt was now considering a review of its diplomatic relations with Iran – which have been poor since 1979 – Gilad said, “I don’t have a problem with a review; what we deal with is policy.”
He said that in the dynamic environment in which the region now finds itself, “there will be many declarations.”
But, he added, the Egyptians have a “deep understanding” about the true nature of Iran, and what a nuclear Iran would mean for the Arab world.
Gilad also said he was favorably impressed “by the stability” in Jordan – even though King Abdullah II is facing “challenges there that are not simple. They [the Hashemites] know how to maneuver.”
“All the terrorist organizations are trying to use Jordan as a platform” for attacks on Israel and the Palestinian Authority, he said – but they failed “because of the qualitative performance and the wisdom of the regime.”