Israeli Ambassador Meets with Egypt Officials

Published November 22nd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Israel's ambassador to Egypt said he met with high-ranking foreign ministry officials Tuesday after Cairo recalled its ambassador from Israel, and that the two sides agreed they should continue to talk. 

Zvi Mazel said he had a "conversation with very high-ranking officials in the ministry of foreign affairs," whom he did not identify. 

"We believe that the dialogue should continue," Mazel said. "The two countries should continue to talk. Egypt is a very moderate country in the Middle East, and we regret this decision" to recall its ambassador. 

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Tuesday recalled his ambassador to Israel for immediate consultations because of the escalating crisis in the Palestinian territories, the state-run MENA news agency said. 

Foreign Minister Amr Moussa told the agency that Mubarak had summoned ambassador Mohammed Bassiouni because of Israel's "excessive use of force" against the Palestinian people, a day after raids on Gaza. 

In reaction, Israel said it did not have plans to recall Mazel. 

"We are not going to retaliate or do something in exchange," foreign ministry spokesman Noam Katz told AFP. 

"We are not going to recall our own ambassador from Egypt." 

He also said there was "dialogue at the diplomatic level" between Israel and Egypt following Cairo's announcement and hoped that there could be ministerial level contacts. 

Commenting on the Egyptian move, Mazel said "the recall of an ambassador is a way of saying something. It is a diplomatic gesture, but it does not stop relations between the two countries." 

Mazel confirmed that he had not been recalled, adding that the Israeli embassy in Cairo continues to function – CAIRO (AFP) 



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