JERUSALEM: Israel’s new ambassador to Egypt, Yaakov Amitai, presented on Monday his credentials to Egypt’s ruling Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Israel’s foreign ministry said.
According to a statement, Amitai and Tantawi “exchanged words through which they emphasized the importance of the peace agreement and cooperation to both countries.”
“I will do my best to enhance understanding and to foster cooperation between Israel and Egypt,” the statement quoted Amitai as saying.
Israel has responded cautiously to the Arab Spring and the rise of Islamist parties in post-revolutionary Egypt.
Last month, it congratulated Egypt on the inauguration of its first post-revolutionary parliament — which is Islamist-dominated.
The Jewish state has repeatedly stressed the importance of preserving the peace treaty between the two countries, and has called on Egypt’s new leadership to publicly state their commitment to the landmark accord.
The current military rulers and the top Islamist parties in Egypt have said they will honor international treaties signed by the government.
Egypt in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, but relations have been strained following last year’s ouster of veteran president Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising.
Amitai begins work in Egypt amid the Arab Spring revolts, which brought down authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Libya as well as Egypt.
The Israeli diplomat replaces Yitzhak Levanon, who left Egypt following a Sept.9 attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, where crowds smashed through an external security wall leading to the evacuation of all embassy staff.
The protests were spurred by the killing of six Egyptian soldiers on the border with Israel. –Additional reporting by Daily News Egypt.