Jerusalem (Sep. 8)
Egypt has assured Israel that the current political tensions and arrests in that country of some 1,500 people accused of contributing to Moslem-Christian violence will not prevent or delay plans to step up normalization between the two countries. Egypt’s Ambassador to Israel, Saad Mortada, conveyed this message today to the Foreign Ministry Director-General, David Kimche, at a meeting here.
At the same time, talks began at El Arish between Israeli and Egyptian experts on streamlining the transportation of goods by land across the Sinai border. Next Sunday a party of 50 Egyptian officials and diplomats is due to arrive in Israel for talks, in separate working groups, on aviation ties, on sea links, telecommunications links, trade and on tourism.
The two governments have agreed on an intensive schedule of meetings, alternating between Jerusalem and Cairo, on these various aspects of normalization. Israeli officials say they sense a new urgency and spirit of concrete cooperation on the Egyptian side.
In the past Israeli sources often accused Cairo of footdragging over normalization. There were fears here, moreover, that the upheavals in Egypt last weekend might further set back the normalization schedule.
Now, Israeli officials are plainly gratified that Cairo has signalled its intention to proceed with the normalization talks at a resolute and determined pace. The advent of the 50-member delegation next Sunday is seen here as solid proof of Egypt’s seriousness.