Last updated: 27 September, 2012

Egypt says no need to amend peace treaty with Israel

Egypt sees no reason to make changes to its peace treaty with Israel, presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said in statements carried Thursday by the state-owned paper Al-Ahram.

“There is no need for the moment to amend the Camp David agreement,” said Ali who was accompanying President Mohamed Morsi in New York for the meetings of the UN General Assembly.

In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a a peace deal with Israel.

The Jewish state has watched with concern as Islamists were catapulted to the forefront of politics following a popular uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi, who emerged from the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, has repeatedly said he would respect international treaties signed by Cairo.

But his former movement has also said there is room to revise the accords, without objecting to them in principle.

On Sunday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected the idea of any changes to the treaty.

“There is not the slightest possibility that Israel will accept the modification of the peace treaty with Israel,” Lieberman told Israeli public radio. “We will not accept any modification of the Camp David accords.”

The statements come amid tensions between Egypt and Israel, particularly over the issue of security in the Sinai peninsula, where Egyptian armed forces have launched an unprecedented campaign to root out Islamist militants.

Last week, an Israeli soldier and three militants who infiltrated from the Sinai were killed in a clash along the border, after troops opened fire on the gunmen as they crossed the frontier.

Israel has urged Egypt to tackle the growing lawlessness in the Sinai, and Cairo has responded by boosting its military presence in the peninsula, but that has also raised concern in the Jewish state, because the Camp David treaty limits the number of Egyptian troops that can be present in the territory.