Egypt names new envoy to Israel

Egypt has named Muhammed Asim Ibrahim as its new ambassador to Israel after a four-year absence in protest against Israel's actions to quell the Palestinian uprising.

    Sharon (L) and Mubarak met for the first time at Sharm al-Shaikh

    Foreign Minister Ahmad Ali Aub al-Ghait said he had received the Israeli government's approval of the nomination, which follows the return of Jordan's ambassador to Tel Aviv two days ago.
      
    Ibrahim is a former ambassador to Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya.

    Jordan and Egypt - the only two Arab states to have signed peace treaties with Israel - announced the return of their ambassadors after a Middle East peace summit in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Shaikh on 8 February.
      
    Egypt, which signed the peace treaty in 1979, withdrew its ambassador shortly after the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada in September 2000, while Amman did not replace a departing envoy in protest over Israel's actions to put down the uprising.
      
    The return of the envoy comes after Egyptian President Husni Mubarak held his first ever face-to-face talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at Sharm al-Shaikh. 
      
    Mutual admiration

    Israel is counting on more Arab
    recognition of its peace gestures

    For years, Sharon was seen as beyond the pale by Egyptians, but Mubarak has come to regard the former general as the man to make peace with the Palestinians, paying him the ultimate compliment last month when he described him as "a very strong man".
      
    Israeli media reports have said that Mubarak could visit the Jewish state shortly.
      
    The key to the rapprochement between the two 76-year-old leaders appears to have been Sharon's announcement a year ago that he plans to pull all Israeli troops and settlers out of the Gaza by the end of 2005.

    &n

    SOURCE: AFP


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