Last updated: 17 October, 2012

Friendly vibes between Israel and Arab neighbours

New ambassadors from Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab countries to have a peace treaty with Israel, formally took up their posts on Wednesday, both highlighting a desire for good relations.

Egypt’s Atef Salem presented his credentials to President Shimon Peres, bringing a message of reassurance from the government of President Mohamed Morsi, whose roots are in the Muslim Brotherhood.

“I came with a message of peace and I came to confirm that we are really working for mutual trust and transparency and we are committed to all the agreements we signed with Israel,” he said.

Peres told him: “We consider Egypt historically and politically as the leading country of the Arab world. We have the highest respect for your people and for your history.

“Please convey to President Morsi my very best wishes for his success, for the success of Egypt and for the success of the Middle East.”

Jordan’s new envoy, career diplomat Walid Obeidat, also presented his credentials to Peres, filling a position that had been vacant since mid-2010.

“Our foremost priority in our foreign policy still remains the peace process and achieving peace between all neighbouring countries, including the establishment of an independent sovereign Palestinian state,” Obeidat said in remarks broadcast on Israel public radio.

Previous ambassador Ali al-Ayed became information minister in mid-2010 and has not been replaced until now, despite pressure from Washington. Amman was reluctant to act because of what officials said was the Jewish state’s policies towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Obeidat was named last month in a move that angered his tribe, one of the largest in Jordan, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s main opposition group.

The Islamists said the appointment was “not in the interest of the kingdom,” while the tribe insisted that “accepting such a post is a great insult to his own people and nation as well as to Palestinian martyrs.”