Israel welcomes Egyptian army stand on peace treaty

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Harinder Mishra

Jerusalem, Feb 13 (PTI) Welcoming a pledge by Egypt''sruling military committing continued support to the 1979 peacetreaty with it, Israel today said that the agreement is thecornerstone of stability in West Asia.

"The longstanding peace treaty between Israel andEgypt has greatly contributed to both countries and is thecornerstone for peace and stability in the entire MiddleEast," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said reacting to thereassuring announcement by the Egyptian military.

Earlier yesterday, the Egyptian army said that therewould be no break in its peace deal with Israel following theouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

A spokesman for the Egyptian military said that thecountry''s Armed Forces Supreme Council was "committed to allits international treaties."

Israel''s ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister, AvigdorLieberman, said that Israel was not interested "in Egypt''sinternal affairs," adding that the only thing Israel wantedwas that "regional stability be preserved and the peace treatyrespected."

Israel''s Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, echoed hisPremier''s sentiments saying it was "a good announcement" toChannel 2.

"Peace is not only in the interest of Israel but alsoof Egypt. I am very happy with this announcement," Steinitzsaid.

Local media reported that upbeat at Egypt''s pledge,Israel''s Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, conducted a phoneconversation later Saturday with the head of Egypt''s rulingmilitary council, Defence Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi.

Israel had expressed concerns that Egypt''s politicalturmoil could threaten the thirty one year old peace accordsigned between the two sides.

Israel has been deeply concerned that Egypt''s turmoilcould threaten the 1979 peace accord signed between the twocountries.

The United States, Egypt''s top ally, is also eager toensure the accord remains in place. The military stronglysupports the accord, not in small part because it guaranteesUS aid for the armed forces, currently running at USD 1.3billion a year.

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