Troubling signs are beginning to emerge from post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt: The prime minister is making new overtures to Iran — and a leading presidential candidate is threatening war with Israel.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency who has announced his candidacy for president in Egypt, said on Monday that “if Israel attacked Gaza we would declare war against the Zionist regime.”
The Digital Journal observed: “In the world's first glimpse of the policies that may emerge from the results of the upcoming Egyptian presidential election, one candidate for president outlined his insistence on protecting Palestinians in Gaza from Israeli military assaults. Mohamed ElBaradei's position on the matter is clear: An Israeli military strike against Gaza would result in a declaration of war from Egypt.”
In an interview with the Arab newspaper Al-Watan reported by the ynetnews website, ElBaradei also declared: “In case of any future Israeli attack on Gaza, as the next president of Egypt, I will open the Rafah border crossing and will consider different ways to implement the joint Arab defense agreement.
“Israel controls the Palestinian soil and there has been no tangible breakthrough in the process of reconciliation because of the imbalance of power in the region and the situation there is a kind of one-way peace.”
On Tuesday, Palestinian militants in Gaza launched three mortar shells at Israel, and Israeli forces killed an armed Palestinian near the Israel-Gaza border.
“Pressure has been mounting along Israel’s border with the coastal enclave in recent weeks, as Gaza militants and Israeli forces traded blows in what some fear are signs of a large-scale military escalation,” the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
Also on Tuesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al Arabi said his country is ready to open a “new page” with Iran.
“Egypt has opened a new page with all countries of the world, including Iran,” Al Arabi said. “The Egyptian and Iranian people deserve relations which reflect their history and civilization.”
Al Arabi’s remarks came during a meeting with Iranian official Mojtaba Amani, who gave him a letter from Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, AFP reported.
Salehi urged Egypt to explore ways to improve relations between the two countries.
Iran broke off diplomatic relations with Egypt in 1980 in protest of Egypt’s recognition of Israel.
Salehi also invited Al Arabi to visit Tehran, and expressed a desire to visit Cairo himself.
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