New Egyptian envoy: We're committed to peace

Incoming ambassadors to Israel present credentials to Peres; Jordan envoy: Guarantee equal freedom of religious rites in J'lem.

Peres and Egypt ambassador 370 (photo credit: Courtesy of President's Residence)
Peres and Egypt ambassador 370
(photo credit: Courtesy of President's Residence)
Incoming Egyptian ambassador to Israel Atef Salem presented President Shimon Peres with his official credentials at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Salem, the first ambassador sent by new Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, said at the ceremony that Cairo is committed to all agreements with Israel, including the peace agreement.
"Egypt is currently going through the first steps of the democratic Egyptian society, and sometimes these steps are met with difficulties. However, I remain optimistic and certain that the Egyptian people can overcome anything," Salem said.
Walid Obeidat, the new Jordanian ambassador to Israel, also presented President Peres with his official credentials on Wednesday.
Salem and Obeidat who met previously with Foreign Ministry officials each left a strong, positive impression. "They're both amazing people, bright, highly intelligent and well educated," a member of the Foreign Ministry's Protocol Department told The Jerusalem Post.
Obeidat asked Peres to guarantee "the protection of equal freedom of religious rites in the holy places in Jerusalem."
Obeidat is the first ambassador to Israel to be appointed in over two years after the previous envoy returned to Amman from Tel Aviv.
Amman’s decision to send a new ambassador came after Cairo decided to name a new envoy to replace Yasser Rada, who finished his term in July.
In late 2010, it was reported that Jordan was delaying appointing a new ambassador to Israel due to its dismay over the state of peace talks with the Palestinians at the time.
In addition to the Egyptian and Jordanian envoys, six other countries sent new emissaries to Jerusalem, among them: Cote D'Ivoire ambassador Jean Baptiste Gomis; Italian ambassador Francesco Maria Talo; Maltese ambassador Simon Pullicino; and Armenian ambassador Armen Melkonian, who is a non-resident envoy who based in Cairo.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.