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Egypt, Israel may amend Camp David

Egypt and Israel have discussed amending the Camp David peace acco

Last Modified: 13 Mar 2004 06:45 GMT
Israeli FM Shalom (L), Egyptian President Husni Mubarak

Egypt and Israel have discussed amending the Camp David peace accords so Cairo can secure the border if Israel withdraws from the occupied Gaza Strip.

Camp David does not permit the presence of heavy Egyptian security along the border, which prevents providing security after a withdrawal, Egyptian Information Minister Safwat al-Sharif was quoted as saying on Friday.

The Camp David accords, negotiated in 1978 and which led to the signing of a peace treaty in 1979, outline limitations on armed forces and patrol units near the international border.

"He revealed that Cairo and Tel Aviv discussed amending the Camp David agreement or signing new agreements that guarantee establishing a border guard with its mission," said the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat.

On Thursday, after talks between Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and top Egyptian officials in Cairo, Israeli sources said Cairo had offered to secure its side of the border with Gaza if Israel withdrew Jewish settlers from the occupied area, which adjoins Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

'Road map'condition

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said he will dismantle Jewish settlements in Gaza, illegal under international law, within the next few months. Under the US-backed "road map" aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Israel is expected to dismantle all Jewish settlements.

Shalom said he had discussed aspects of the plan to withdraw from Gaza, including guarding the Gaza-Egypt border, in his talks with Egyptian President Husni Mubarak. But Shalom also said the talks were inconclusive from Israel's point of view.
 
Al-Sharif told al-Hayat Egypt's intelligence chief Umar Sulayman had discussed the issue of a withdrawal from Gaza in recent days with Sharon.
 
But al-Sharif said Cairo would not take a security role in Gaza. Shalom had said Israel was not proposing such a role.

"We told the Israeli and Palestinian sides categorically that we will not contribute Egyptian forces to safeguard security in the Gaza Strip because we see that any foreign presence will increase instability," al-Sharif said.

Source:
Reuters
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