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Peres to Morsi: Israelis greatly respect the Egyptian people

President sends friendly letter of congratulations to his new Islamist counterpart, who was sworn in Saturday in Cairo

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Egyptian President-elect Mohammed Morsi speaks to newspaper editors in Cairo on Thursday, June 28, 2012. (photo credit: Egyptian Presidency/AP)
Egyptian President-elect Mohammed Morsi speaks to newspaper editors in Cairo on Thursday, June 28, 2012. (photo credit: Egyptian Presidency/AP)

President Shimon Peres sent a letter of congratulations to his new Egyptian counterpart, reassuring him of Israel’s desire to maintain peaceful relations and telling him that all Israelis respect the Egyptian people.

Peres sent the letter to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, who was sworn in Saturday as the Arab world’s first freely-elected Islamist leader, on Thursday afternoon. On Sunday, Peres’s office said it got confirmation that the letter had been received in Cairo.

“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 the letter, which was written and signed in Arabic.

“We in Israel all greatly respect Egypt and the Egyptian people, who pioneered and outlined the path of peace and reconciliation in the region. We know that the work has not been completed.”

Peres then congratulated the Egyptian people on the holding of democratic elections and expressed the hope that the country, “under your leadership,” master the complex challenges facing it in the future. “We look forward to further cooperating with you based on the peace accords signed between us more than three decades ago. Our commitment to preserve and nurture these accords will benefit both our peoples,” Peres wrote. “Unlike war, peace is victory for both sides.”

Peres’ letter echoed a personal letter Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent to Morsi last week.

Since he was declared the winner of Egypt’s first free elections, Morsi has refrained from openly attacking Israel and has indicated that he intends to keep the peace with Israel.

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