CAIRO: Egypt has called a recent war of words between Israel and Syria and the possibility of any war in the region as “a cause for grave concern and must stop, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Friday.
Calling for restraint, Aboul Gheit added that Egypt objected to the tone of Israeli officials insinuating war against any Arab country, and the negative repercussions in the region from even the mere mention of such, and the tensions it will cause in the region.
The foreign minister was reacting to a recent spat between Syria and Israel, which while not uncommon took a turn recently with the insinuated threat of military action.
On Wednesday Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad accused Israel of pushing the region towards war and was not interested in achieving peace while meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.
The Syrian president said that Israel was “not serious about peace and was “pushing the region towards war.
On Thursday Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded during a meeting in Tel Aviv that Al-Assad would be removed from power if he considered any attack on Israel.
“Assad should know that if he attacks, he will not only lose the war, he said, “Neither he nor his family will remain in power. I hope the message will be well understood in Damascus.
Aboul Gheit stated that energies must be focused on achieving peace rather than exchanging threats and added that many countries, whether in the Middle East or not, were working on trying to achieve peace in the region.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem had also waded into the issue at a joint press conference with Moratinos after the meeting with Al-Assad, telling reporters that Israel should “desist from making threats against Gaza, southern Lebanon, Iran and now Syria.
He added that Israel “should not test Syria’s determination for it should know that a war will move to Israeli cities, but rather “abide by the requirements for a just and comprehensive peace.
Lieberman is no stranger to controversy, especially regarding comments he made about Egypt that has unofficially made him persona non grata in the country. It is his Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu who visits Egypt instead.
“Lieberman will not come to Egypt, foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said last September, “He will not cross into it.
Lieberman had stated that President Hosni Mubarak could “go to hell for not visiting Israel except for the funeral of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yithak Rabin and also once called for the bombing of the Aswan Dam.