Presidential Candidate: Egypt Won’t Cancel Peace with Israel

January 16, 2012  

Former Arab League Secretary-General and Egyptian presidential hopeful Amr Moussa has rejected the possibility that Egypt will cancel the peace treaty it signed with Israel in 1979.

In an extensive interview with the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Moussa said, “As for Egyptian-Israeli relations, the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty is in place, and I do not think there are any circumstances that will lead to its cancellation. I do not think this will happen, and I do not think it would be wise for this treaty to be cancelled. The treaty will continue so long as each party respects it.”

Moussa also addressed the state of anarchy in the Sinai Peninsula and said, “I believe that the security articles of the treaty should be reviewed in this regard. This is something that can be discussed within a political framework.”

He also spoke about the Arab-Israeli conflict and said Egypt will not turn its back on what he termed “the Palestinian Cause.”

“As Egyptians, we are the largest neighbor to Palestine and Israel, and so we must work to control the situation in this region,” Moussa said. “This is via three points: solving the Arab-Israeli conflict in a just and respectable manner, solving the Palestinian Cause through the establishment of a genuine Palestinian state, and by establishment an atmosphere where everybody feels safe, most prominently through nuclear non-proliferation.”

The extremist Muslim Brotherhood, which clinched the majority in recent parliamentary elections in Egypt, has threatened to cancel the peace treaty with Israel by putting the issue up for a referendum and letting Egyptians decide.

U.S. State Department Victora Nuland later told reporters that the Muslim Brotherhood had assured Washington it would uphold extant diplomatic accords, including the peace treaty with Israel, but the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party denied this.

The presidential candidate also addressed the issue of Egypt’s selling of natural gas to Israel, particularly in the wake of repeated attacks on the pipeline which delivers the gas.

“There are two issues that must be decided,” Moussa told Asharq Al-Awsat. “Firstly, whether we will sell natural gas to Israel or not, and secondly, how such sales will take place. There is a lot of corruption in the gas deals that occurred in the past. This corruption must be immediately addressed. As for the issue of whether we will continue such sales, the [Egyptian] political apparatus must look into this and consider how it will manage Egypt’s gas and oil policies, environmental policies, etc.”

Moussa, who served as Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1991 and 2001 and then as Arab League Secretary-General until 2011, is the most prominent Egyptian presidential candidate and is believed to be leading the race. A poll conducted in November 2011 by the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies showed Moussa winning 39 percent of the vote.

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