London, Feb.10 (ANI): Egyptian Vice-President Omar Suleiman told the Israelis he wanted to start "cleansing the Sinai" of Palestinian arms smugglers.
According to WikiLeaks-related leaked diplomatic cables, this is more evidence of the close ties between Israel, the United States and Suleiman, who is tipped to replace Hosni Mubarak as Egypt's president.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Suleiman is Israel's preferred candidate to replace 82-year-old Mubarak.
A secret hotline between Suleiman and the Israelis was said to be "in daily use", according to US diplomatic cables.The pledge to cleanse Sinai was made by Suleiman to Yuval Diskin of the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) after he complained about the smuggling of weapons across the border with Gaza.
According to a cable sent in November, 2007, Diskin met Rob Danin, the US deputy assistant secretary of state, and Mark Kimmitt, the deputy assistant defence secretary, in Tel Aviv and told them that the Sinai peninsula had now become a "weapons and explosives warehouse" for operations in Gaza, Egypt and Israel.
The cable said: "Diskin told Danin and Kimmit [sic] that the ISA had, on several occasions provided Omar Suleiman, chief of Egypt's intelligence services, with detailed intelligence on the names of smugglers.
"In 2005, Diskin said he met personally with Suleiman in Egypt, at which time Suleiman promised personally to take responsibility for 'cleansing the Sinai'."
Suleiman worked hard to position himself as the main Egyptian link with Israel.
According to the cable, he was blocking attempts by the Israelis to form links with other members of the Cairo government.
Suleiman has already won the backing of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (ANI)