Barak meets with Clinton, amid US strains with Egypt
The unrest in Egypt continues to dominate coverage in the UK media today. The Daily Telegraph notes Wikileaks cables detailing then-intelligence chief Omar Suleiman’s desire to ‘cleanse’ Sinai of arms smugglers, and a US and Israeli claim that former-IAEA chief Mohammed al-Baradei had been excessively ‘soft’ on Iran when he held this post. The Times has a piece which contends that the Saudis advised the Obama Administration to back Mubarak, and threatened to back the Egyptian regime financially if the US tried to force a swift regime change. The Scotsman reports on the possibility of an imposition of martial law in Egypt. The Times, meanwhile, notes concerns following statements by Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders that they would ‘review’ Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel if they were to form part of a future Egyptian government. The Guardian runs a piece saying that UK Foreign Secretary William Hague’s statements on the Middle East peace process will run up against Israeli ‘obduracy.’ The paper also quotes Israeli electric car pioneer Shai Agassi, who argues that the UK should increase its electric car grants. BBC Online quotes a former UK ambassador to Israel who supports Foreign Secretary Hague’s remarks on the ‘urgency’ of reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The former ambassador, Sherard Cowper-Coles, expresses himself as in favour of pressure on Israel to bring about a peace deal. The Evening Standard also quotes Hague’s statement. The Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph note Israel’s rejection of Hague’s remarks regarding Israel’s ‘belligerent’ language. The Independent has an editorial expressing agreement with Hague’s statement. The Independent also notes an Israeli air strike on Gaza following mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip.
In the Israeli media, all papers note the approval of the appointment of Major-General Benny Gantz to the position of IDF Chief of Staff. Ynetnews and Haaretz note statements by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that his faction may leave the coalition if a conversion bill currently under discussion does not pass. Ynetnews and Haaretz also note differences between the US and Egypt over the pace and nature of change in Egypt. The Jerusalem Post reports on wariness in the US Congress over a future role for the Muslim Brotherhood in government in Egypt. The paper also reports on a White House statement reaffirming the US commitment to Israel’s security, issued following a meeting between Defence Minister Ehud Barak and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ynetnews quotes remarks by NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen regarding the latest developments in the Middle East. Maariv has a piece assessing two years of Benjamin Netanyahu’s prime ministership, which the writer sees as a series of ‘zig-zags’ on key issues.