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Egyptian tank in Sinai
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Egyptian official calms fears over Sinai deployment
Higher Military Council member insists Egypt did not breach peace treaty with Israel by deploying tanks in Sinai Peninsula; says Cairo determined to protect itself even at the cost of treaty amendments

Israeli state officials expressed concerns over the fact that Egypt failed to notify Israel about the deployment of tanks in Sinai, but a member of Egypt's Higher Military Council on Monday said the move does not breach the peace treaty with Israel.

 

The Egyptian official, who refused to be named, told al-Masry al-Youm newspaper that Egypt is committed to the peace treaty, but is determined to protect itself even at the cost of amending the treaty.

 

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The official added that the military crackdown against terror cells in Sinai is coordinated with the Israeli security establishment, which has been negotiating the reinforcement of Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula with officials in Cairo.

 

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday that Israel must make sure that the 1979 peace treaty is upheld and not stay silent as Egypt's military forces enter Sinai.

 

In a closed meeting with ambassadors in Jerusalem, Lieberman said, "We must make sure that every detail is upheld, otherwise we'll find ourselves in a slippery slope as far as the peace treaty is concerned."

Israel has asked Egypt to withdraw the tanks and state officials believe that the US will use its influence over Cairo, which depends on US aid, to compel it to remove them.

 

Earlier, Israeli state officials said they were unimpressed with President Mohammed Morsi's efforts to prove he is fighting terror and noted there is no evidence to suggest he intends to handle the problem.

 

They noted that Egypt's problem in Sinai is not on the Israeli border but in other areas which terrorists use to smuggle weapons into the region. One official said that in order to prove that he's serious in fighting terror, Morsi needs to "move commando forces, not officers, into Sinai to secure the border with Israel," explaining that other borders, like the one with Sudan, are being used as smuggling routes.

 

 

 

 

 

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