PM: Keeping Egypt treaty is in world's interest

Comments come day after Netanyahu says Israel has "clear interest” in strong, independent Jordan.

Netnatahu with Romanian PM Emil Bloc 311 (photo credit: GPO)
Netnatahu with Romanian PM Emil Bloc 311
(photo credit: GPO)
The Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty ensures “stability in the heart of the Middle East,” and it’s in both countries’ interests – as well as the interest of the world – for it to be maintained, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
Netanyahu, speaking at a press conference in the capital with visiting Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc, said in reference to the Suez Canal that the 1979 peace treaty ensured free access to one of the world’s most important sea lanes.
In addition, he said, it ensured “economic stability, quiet and many other things for Egypt, for Israel and for other states.”
Just as there were many interests working toward the preservation and advancement of the peace treaty, “there are many elements that would like to disrupt it,” Netanyahu said. Maintaining the treaty was an interest both for Israel and “for any government that arises in Egypt.”
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With unrest continuing to rock Cairo, this was the second day in a row that the prime minister spoke publicly about the need to preserve the peace with Egypt, having articulated the same sentiment in his Knesset address on Wednesday. During that speech, he also highlighted the importance of continuing to work to “stabilize and strengthen the peace with Jordan.”
“We have a clear interest that our eastern neighbor, the Hashemite Kingdom, will continue to be strong and independent,” he said.
Despite the sanguine assessment that Netanyahu gave at the press conference about how both Egypt and Israel were acting “responsibly and seriously against terrorism and against those who violate the peace,” he also indicated that the overall volatility of the region would make Israel less likely to take risks for peace right now.
“We would like nothing better than to have democratic neighbors,” he said. “Nothing would be better for prosperity, security and for peace. But that outcome is far from certain. We could well find ourselves in a regional environment that is more hostile than ever, and this could last for quite some time.”
This was why, he said, Jerusalem needed to be “very careful, very responsible, and very vigilant, especially mindful not to do anything that could jeopardize Israel’s security.”
Regarding Iran, the prime minister praised the recent stepped-up sanctions on which the US, Canada and Britain had decided, and said he hoped other countries would follow suit.
“I expressed my hope that Romania and other European governments will apply powerful sanctions against the regime before it is too late,” Netanyahu said of his conversation with Boc.
He added that he was “pleased that more powerful sanctions have been taken. But I believe that more powerful sanctions are due. Especially those that would focus on the oil sector, and most especially on the banking sector. If anything has a chance of taking a real bite into Iran’s economy and having a real impact on this regime, it is these more powerful sanctions. I hope they will be taken.”
Boc, in Israel for the first time, headed a Romanian ministerial delegation that held a government- to-government meeting with the Israeli cabinet. As a result of the meetings, five bilateral agreements – relating to issues such as foreign workers, Holocaust education, and health and environmental cooperation – were signed.
One government official said the benefit of these types of cabinet- to-cabinet gatherings was that they cut through bureaucracy and gave a big boost to promoting bilateral issues and agreements.
Israel has similar arrangements with Poland, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic.