New ambassador to Egypt officially begins his tenure

Yaakov Amitai submits credentials during ceremony in Cairo, speaks to Tantawi about importance of 1979 peace accords.

Egyptian ram Israeli embassy in Cairo_311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Egyptian ram Israeli embassy in Cairo_311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Yaacov Amitai, Israel’s new ambassador to Egypt, presented his credentials on Monday to Egyptian Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, three months after Yitzhak Levanon, the previous ambassador, left his post.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem issued a statement emphasizing that during the ceremony in Cairo, during which ambassadors from other countries also presented their credentials, “Hatikva” was played, along with the other national anthems.
The statement said the presentation of credentials was held in a “cordial atmosphere,” and that Amitai and Tantawi spoke and “emphasized the importance of the peace agreement and cooperation to both countries.
“I will do everything I can to enhance understanding and to foster cooperation between Israel and Egypt,” Amitai said.
Israel now formally has an ambassador in Cairo, but no embassy. Since September 9, when the embassy in Cairo was ransacked and six security guards were rescued at the last minute from an angry mob, the skeletal embassy staff – including Amitai – has been working from makeshift premises in the city, coming back to Israel for the weekends.
Israel is looking for a new location for the embassy.
Israeli officials say that there is good cooperation with Tantawi and the military council he heads, which is in control in Egypt, and that the military appreciates the importance of the peace treaty, and also realizes that breaking it would harm Cairo’s relationship with the US.
The concern in Jerusalem is that as the governing forces in Egypt become more responsive to the population, and the population is unhappy with the treaty, there will be pressure from below to re-open it and make adjustments.