Israel’s Ehud Olmert voices regret for incident in which “two Egyptian security officers” were killed and announces a joint probe
Olmert’s first encounter with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak at Sharm el-Sheikh Sunday, June 4, was more a courtesy call than a down-to-earth discussion, with the Israeli prime minister heaping lavish praise on his host. The Egyptian president, commenting on the prime minister’s convergence plan for the West Bank, said dryly he would prefer a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, but did not object to any Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank. Olmert announced he would soon be meeting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
debkafile adds: Mubarak insisted on the Israeli prime minister calling on him after his Washington visit and before setting out for his first tour of European capitals next Sunday, June 11. For the Egyptian ruler, this was an exercise in upmanship over the new Israeli prime minister. By glossing over the attack on Israeli troops on the Israeli side of the border by al Qaeda gunmen masquerading in Egyptian uniforms, Olmert played into his hands.
Before meeting the prime minister, Mubarak spent two days talking to Saudi King Abdullah at the Red Sea resort to align their policies on key regional issues. These policies are diametrically opposed to the Israel government’s positions. The two Arab rulers agreed to counter the tough line Washington is leading against Iran’s nuclear program and oppose Olmert’s unilateral approach on the West Bank and Israel’s eastern border. The Saudi ruler stands by its patronage of Hamas – whether as a terrorist organization or head of Palestinian government. Abdullah and Mubarak agreed to try and reconcile the differences between Hamas and Fatah leader Mahoud Abbas.