Egypt denies its envoy plans a boycott of peace treaty anniversary
The Egyptian ambassador to Israel has no plans to boycott celebrations marking the 30th anniversary of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, a spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Thursday, contradicting Israeli press reports, reported dpa.
"We don't have any information suggesting that the ambassador to Israel will boycott the celebrations. Why should he?" Hossam Zaki, a spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in Cairo, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on Thursday.
The Israeli daily Haaretz on Thursday cited anonymous Israeli government sources as saying that Egyptian diplomats had told them they might boycott celebrations if right-wing Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman is named foreign minister.
The Egyptians "have demonstrated a clear lack of interest in taking part," an Israeli government official told Haaretz. The Egyptians wanted to send a message that Lieberman's appointment would mean that it was no longer "business as usual" between Egypt and Israel, the official reportedly said.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party signed an agreement with the far-right Yisrael Beitenu party whereby its leader, Avigdor Lieberman, would become foreign minister.
But Likud is still negotiating with other parties to form a "national unity" government, and a clause in the March 16 agreement between Likud and Yisrael Beitenu allows Netanyahu to appoint a different foreign minister if the shape of the coalition changes.
Zaki, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry's spokesman in Cairo, on Thursday refused to comment on the possible appointment of Lieberman as foreign minister.
"So far, all we have is media speculation" on the composition of the Israeli government, he told dpa. "We are reserving comment until we learn if his appointment is final."
Lieberman, who lives in the West Bank settlement of Nokdim, is particularly controversial in Egypt for once threatening to bomb the High Dam at Aswan.