Israel's foreign ministry has called in the Egyptian ambassador to stress the importance of the two countries' historic peace accord, an Israeli official has said, after Egypt's prime minister said the treaty was not "sacred".

Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf told Turkish television on Thursday that the 1979 peace accord with Israel could be changed for the benefit of the region.

"The Camp David agreement is not a sacred thing and is always open to discussion with what would benefit the region and the case of fair peace and we could make a change if needed," he said in the interview, which was also broadcast on Egyptian state television.

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Foreign Ministry Director General Rafi Barak told Egyptian envoy Yasser Reda on Friday that treaties must be honoured to the letter.


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Mark Regev, Spokesman for Israeli prime minister, told Al Jazeera that we [Israel] don't want to look back we want to look forward.

"Peace is an interest to both sides, once again what is the alternative? to go back to the wars? Do Israeli's and Egyptian's want to go back to that? I don't think so.

"We [Israel] want the peace and we want it to flourish, and we hope that the Egyptian's share our view and they said so publicly that they do."

Israel and Egypt fought four major wars in which tens of thousands lost their lives before they signed the 1979 treaty, ushering in more than three decades of relative calm.

Relations between Egypt and Israel, strained since the ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak in February, were plunged into crisis last Saturday when protesters in Cairo stormed Israel's embassy, forcing most of its diplomats to flee Egypt.

A cross-border attack last month has also frayed ties between the two states, with Israeli forces killing five Egyptian security guards during gun battles with Palestinian fighters.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies