In a speech at the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday which surprised many of the employees who were expecting generalities, new Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also made clear that he believed Egypt is a key strategic partner and an important factor for stability in the region. "What is important is to maintain world and regional stability," he said, adding that he was being asked constantly, "What will be with Egypt?" "Egypt existed in the time of our Patriarchs, and will apparently be in our time as well," he went on. "Egypt is certainly an important factor, and an important country in the Arab world, and a factor that stabilizes the regional situation, and perhaps beyond it." His comments appeared to be an attempt to assuage concerns in Cairo following comments he made in the past about Egypt. Lieberman said that he would both like to visit Egypt, and would welcome their leaders here. "I will definitely be happy to visit Egypt, and I would be happy for Egyptian leaders to visit us here, and for the Egyptian foreign minister to visit the Israeli Foreign Ministry. I certainly respect them, and I want them to respect us, on the basis of reciprocity," he said.