Concern for Israel as new Egypt emerges

Clouds are continuing to gather over Israel’s relations with Egypt following the fall of the Mubarak regime.

On Sunday, in an interview with Egyptian state television, Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Arabi said that while Egypt remains committed to the peace accords it signed with Israel, they did not mean that the two countries should have warm relations.

“The agreements we signed do not force us to do so,” said Mr Al-Arabi, who blamed Israel for acting against the spirit of Camp David by continuing to build settlements in the West Bank.

While it is not expected that the interim Egyptian government will make major changes in foreign policy, the prevailing view among its senior ministers that relations between Israel and Egypt should be conditional on progress in the peace process is a clear indication of what Israel can expect once a new government is voted in.

Another cause for concern for Israel are signs of a thawing in the relations between Egypt and Iran. While former president Hosni Mubarak positioned himself as the main regional rival to Iran’s leadership, Foreign Minister Al-Arabi said last week: “We will open a new page with all countries, including Iran.” He did not rule out talks with Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hizbollah, despite their attempts to carry out terror attacks in Sinai last year.

Even tougher rhetoric was on display in an interview by Mohammed El-Baradei, a former diplomat and potential presid… >>>

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