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Israeli writer says Egyptian mission to Israel had diplomatic agenda

The Israeli writer Reuven Barco has publicly criticised the remarks of the spokesperson of the Egyptian armed forces, Ahmed Ali, regarding Egypt’s recent mission to Israel, pointing out that the mission had a dual agenda covering both diplomatic and military cooperation.

Ali posted a statement on Facebook on Saturday saying that the controversial weeklong visit came within the framework of regular military coordination between Israel and Egypt to discuss border security operations based on the 1979 peace treaty.

The armed forces spokesperson added that Egypt and Israel have been holding three security meetings a year since 1982: one in Cairo, another in Tel Aviv and a third in Roma, since Roma is the headquarters of the multinational forces that oversee the implementation of the peace agreement.

However, according to Egypt’s Al-Shaab Jasdid newspaper, Barco strongly disagreed with Ali’s statement.

“I would like to reprimand the spokesperson of the Egyptian armed forces for his remarks regarding the Egyptian mission’s visit last week to Tel Aviv,” Barco wrote in his weekly article in the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom.

Barco went on to reveal that the mission’s aim was both diplomatic and military: “The visit conducted by an Egyptian mission to Israel included military and diplomatic officials. Saying that the mission included only military officials was not right.”

He further explained that while he understands the “excessive sensitivity of Egyptian-Israeli relations”, he insisted that “transparency” is important in this issue in order to let the people recognise the size of the threats providing the impetus for carrying out this visit.

The visit, according to Barco, cannot be classified simply as a periodical one when the timing of the visit to discuss regular military coordination is scheduled to take place in July, not March.

He blamed the Egyptian spokesperson for not admitting the special political nature of this visit.

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