Photo: AP
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Photo: AP
Egypt says it warned Israel against 'foolish' war
Egyptian foreign minister says Cairo warned Israel that confrontation with Hizbullah threatens ties

Egypt warned Israel that its "foolish" war in Lebanon against Hizbullah threatened Egypt-Israeli ties, Egypt's foreign minister said in a television interview broadcast on Friday.


In a rebuttal of accusations from ordinary Arabs that Egypt could have done more to defend Lebanon and back Hizbullah, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Egypt had made its anger clear to Israel.


"Letters (to Israel) expressed anger and resentment and requests to stop and warnings that the Egypt-Israeli relationship may be affected in future," Aboul Gheit said.


"We were aware of the magnitude of the casualties, of the deaths, the magnitude of the damage and also the size of Israeli foolishness and that of Hizbullah's mistake," he added.


Egypt is one of only two Arab states that have peace treaties with Israel. Its pleas for Israel to halt its attacks on Lebanon in its war against Hizbullah were ignored.


'Egypt acted wisely'

The Shi'ite Islamist group's capture of two Israeli soldiers in July preceded Israeli air and ground attacks.


Arab public opinion had strongly criticised Egypt's failure to hold Israel back and also President Hosni Mubarak's indirect criticism of Hizbullah at the beginning of the conflict.


In the interview, broadcast on satellite channel Al-Mehwar, Aboul Gheit defended Egypt's initial response to the war.


He referred to recent statements made by Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in which he said his group would not have kidnapped the Israeli soldiers had he known that Israel's reaction would produce a 34-day war.


"Nasrallah's speech ... has major significance that should not be missed and proves the wisdom of Egypt's handling of its interests and that of the region," Aboul Gheit said.


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