Israeli, Egyptian Parliamentarians To Meet in Washington
Published Tuesday, 12 June 2012 14:56 | Written by Amwal Al Ghad
A delegation of Israeli and Egyptian parliamentarians, possibly including Muslim Brotherhood (MB) members, is soon to meet in Washington D.C.
The informal talks convened by Israeli envoy to Egypt, Yaacov Amitai, and to be held under the U.S. State Department's aegis, are scheduled for after the second round of voting in Egyptian elections, in just over a week.
"It's a U.S.-initiated meeting, which is meant as a gathering for parliamentarians from the region," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Xinhua Tuesday, who stressed however that "It's not an 'Israeli-Egyptian' meeting, as such, but rather unofficial talks."
While Palmor said he wasn't aware of the talks' agenda, he averred that "It's a sign that the Americans want to foster ties."
MB members are likely to be among the Egyptian delegation, according to the Israeli Yediot Aharonot daily.
Palmor, however, downplayed the report of MB taking part in the U.S-mediated talks, stressing that "there was no connection" between the meeting and the possibility that the MB would gain power in the upcoming vote.
As to the makeup of the Israeli delegation, Palmor said Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman chose the members. Knesset officials, however, were said to be concerned that the delegates lacked substantial diplomatic experience, specifically with Egypt.
Among the delegates are Ruhama Avraham-Balila (Kadima), Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas) and Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beiteinu), according to media reports, which said that none of the delegates are reportedly fluent in English.
None of the delegates were available for comment on the planned meeting.
Former Shin Bet security agency chief and public security minister, Avi Dichter (Kadima), who speaks fluent Arabic and English, was originally pegged to lead the group, but later bowed out, citing scheduling conflicts.
When appraised of the potential group, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin reportedly personally intervened with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, requesting him to approve more experienced lawmakers instead, according to the Ha'aretz daily.
However, in a statement sent to Xinhua, Rivlin's office roundly denied the Ha'aretz report, calling Avraham-Balila "a richly- experienced parliamentarian, and as a former (government) minister. .. takes part in many parliamentary and bilateral meetings and honorably represents the Knesset."
Rivlin said Avraham-Balila's "activities are characterized by clarity, involvement and professionalism," and slammed the newspaper for "blowing the issue out of proportion, using a twisted and unfair headline."
Most Popular »
- Egypt Sees 20% Deficit in Commodities During Holy Month - Official
- Investors’ Woes Drag Egypt Benchmark Below 4605 Pts – Closing
- Syria Calls Egypt's Severing Of Ties A US-Israeli Conspiracy
- Germany's Terms Of Trade With Egypt Worth €4 Bln
- Rowhani’s Surprise Election In Tehran Could Resuscitate Obama’s Speech In Cairo