Mubarak invites Netanyahu for talks

Egyptian president calls PM to congratulate him; Two leaders to meet in Sharm e-Sheikh in near future.

mubarak 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
mubarak 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has invited Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for a meeting in Sharm e-Sheikh in the near future, the Prime Minister's Office announced Monday evening. According to the Prime Minister's Office statement, Mubarak phoned Netanyahu to congratulate him on taking over as prime minister. The statement said the two leaders emphasized the friendly ties between the two countries, and pledged to continue and even strengthen them. The invitation came amid some concern that relations between the two countries could deteriorate because of the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister. Last week, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said he would not shake Lieberman's hand until he retracted previous statements such as the threat to blow up the Aswan Dam and the remark he made last October that Mubarak could 'go to hell' if he didn't want to visit Israel. 'As long as Lieberman's positions stay the same, if we see each other by chance at a meeting, I will keep my hands in my pockets,' Aboul-Gheit said in an interview taped on Thursday morning for Al-Mehwar television's 48 Hours talk show. Brenda Gazzar contributed to this report 'The Egyptian foreign minister must uphold the dignity of Egypt,' Aboul-Gheit said. 'Whoever insults the dignity of Egypt must face the consequences and accept responsibility for his words.' He continued, 'I have met with more than one Israeli foreign minister, and I have welcomed them in Egypt. But never before has any of them said anything like what [Lieberman] said against Egypt.'