Egypt’s newly appointed Defence Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stressed Cairo’s commitment to the 1979 peace treaty in a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, the London-based al-Hayat newspaper reports this morning.
According to the report, Al-Sisi spoke to Barak before a meeting with Egypt’s President Mohammed Mursi. The talks were held amid Israeli concerns over Egypt’s decision to deploy aircrafts and tanks in the Sinai Peninsula, in a move that if not approved by Israel violates the Camp David peace treaty.
A Senior Egyptian official told al-Hayat that al-Sisi reassured his Israeli counterpart about Egyptian military operations in the Sinai and confirmed that Cairo and Jerusalem had come to an understanding on the matter.
The deployment of military hardware into the Sinai comes after a deadly attack at the beginning of the month on Egyptian border police that left 16 dead. Part of the assault included an attempt to breach Egypt’s border with Israel.
Under the 1979 Camp David accords, Israel agreed to withdraw its troops and citizens from the Sinai and return it to Egyptian control in return for normalised relations and a restriction on the number of Egyptian troops allowed to enter the Sinai.
Since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s previous president, the Peninsula has become increasingly lawless, and Israel has called on Egypt to retake control of the Sinai to root out terrorists operating in the border area.