Egypt's Morsi Sends Letter to Israeli President Peres, Expresses Hope For Peace
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has sent a letter to President Shimon Peres, thanking him for his Ramadan greeting and expressing hope that the people of the region would return to coexist peacefully.
Egypt's Islamist leader said he is "looking forward to exerting our best efforts to get the Middle East process back on its track in order to achieve security and stability."
The surprising missive from Cairo may be interpreted as an attempt by the new regime to clarify that it supports peace, despite the harsh criticism against Israel and the close relations with Hamas in Gaza.
Following Morsi's election, President Peres sent him a letter of congratulations saying, “As someone who took part in the process that led to the signing of the peace agreement between your country and mine, I know that both Egypt and Israel see with utmost importance peace and stability in our region as something that serves the interests of all peoples of the region.
“We in Israel all greatly respect Egypt and the Egyptian people, who pioneered and outlined the path of peace and reconciliation in the region. We know that the work has not been completed,” Peres wrote to his Egyptian counterpart in the letter, which was sent July 1.
“We look forward to further cooperating with you based on the peace accords signed between us more than three decades ago. Our commitment to preserve and nurture these accords will benefit both our peoples. Unlike war, peace is victory for both sides.”
Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, is a staunch critic of the Jewish state, but in his victory speech he stressed that Egypt would "uphold its international agreements and obligations."
The US government, which gives Egypt billions of dollars in aid, is applying heavy pressure on Morsi to negotiate with Israel and preserve the peace treaty. During her recent visit to Egypt, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Morsi to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Over the past few weeks Morsi has met with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and the terror group's politburo chief, Khaled Mashaal. This marks a major policy shift by Egypt, which, under the Mubarak regime, distanced itself from Hamas.