Egypt’s Morsi says he hopes for regional stability, including for Israel, in brief letter to ‘Perez’

Islamist leader expresses ‘deep thanks’ for president’s Ramadan good wishes

Ilan Ben Zion is an AFP reporter and a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (photo credit: AP/Maya Alleruzzo)
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (photo credit: AP/Maya Alleruzzo)

Egypt is committed to regional security and stability, including for the Israeli people, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi wrote to President Shimon Peres in a brief missive. Receipt of the letter was confirmed by Peres’s office, and online by the Foreign Ministry, on Tuesday.

In the two-sentence letter — undated, unsigned, misspelling Peres’s name as “Perez,” and referring to the region as the “Middle east” — the newly elected Islamist head of state offers his “deep thanks” for the Israeli president’s recent Ramadan good wishes. Morsi expresses his interest in getting the peace process back on track and achieving “security and stability for all peoples of the region, including that [sic] Israeli people.”

Later Tuesday, the website of the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram quoted a spokesman for Morsi denying he had sent the letter. Israeli sources remained adamant that it was genuine, however, and news of its receipt, “Communicated by the President’s Office,” remained on the Foreign Ministry’s website as of midnight Tuesday.

At the beginning of the month, Peres penned a letter of congratulations to Morsi and reassured him of Israel’s desire to maintain peaceful relations. The president also sent separate Ramadan wishes.

Morsi’s letter gives no indication of whether he would meet with Peres or other Israeli leaders. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly pressured Morsi to meet with Netanyahu during a July 14 meeting.

At a press conference later that day, she denied taking any steps to bring Morsi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu together. “It is up to the two nations, and the president and the prime minister, to make their own scheduling plans,” she said.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's letter to President Shimon Peres. (Courtesy)
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s letter to President Shimon Peres. (Courtesy)

Since being inaugurated as president of Egypt at the end of June, Morsi has refrained from overt attacks on Israel, and has indicated that he intends to honor the 1979 peace treaty.

“As someone who took part in the process that led to the signing of the peace agreement between your country and mine, I know that both Egypt and Israel see with utmost importance peace and stability in our region as something that serves the interests of all peoples of the region,” Peres wrote in his letter to Morsi, which was written and signed in Arabic.

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