Barak Voices Regret over Recall of Egypt's Ambassador
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday that he regretted Egypt's decision to recall its ambassador to the Jewish state, saying Cairo had a positive role to play in the peace process.
"I regret that the ambassador was called back to Egypt and I hope it will only be for a short period," Barak said at a press conference during a visit to an army base in the Gaza Strip.
"Egypt has a positive role in the peace process," he said, but added: "I don't know what this step will bring to the peace process."
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday recalled Ambassador Mohammed Bassiouni for immediate consultations because of Israel's "excessive use of force" against the Palestinians.
Israel's Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami said Tuesday that Egypt's decision to recall its ambassador was "grave" and warned that it could harm Egypt's ability to play a role in the Middle East peace process, according to AFP.
"It is a grave decision and harms Egypt's ability to continue to play an important role in the political process," Ben Ami told Israeli public radio.
Meanwhile, Israel said it had no plans to recall its ambassador from Cairo, according to AFP.
"We are not going to retaliate or do something in exchange. We are not going to recall our own ambassador from Egypt," a foreign ministry spokesman, Noam Katz, told AFP.
He also said there was "dialogue at the diplomatic level" between Israel and Egypt following Cairo's announcement – (AFP)
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