Sunday, January 18, 2009

Egypt: We Will Not Accept Foreigners on Our Land - No International Presence

Daily News Egypt, January 18, 2009 - The US and Israel can “do what they wish with regard to the sea or any other country in Africa, but when it comes to Egyptian land, we are not bound by anything except the safety and national security of the Egyptian people and Egypt’s ability to protect its borders,” Aboul Gheit told reporters.

It was unclear whether Aboul Gheit’s comments indicate Egypt would reject US assistance. The US allocated $23 million last year to help train Egyptian officials to stop smuggling into Gaza through tunnels under the border and sent US Army engineers to carry out the training.

Aboul Gheit’s comments could simply indicate frustration over Israeli and American efforts to broker their own deal to stem smuggling into Gaza after weeks of Egyptian mediation to end violence in the territory. They could also be intended for domestic consumption to show that Egypt’s role will not be dictated by outside powers.

But the country has been sensitive about the perception that it cannot police its own border and has rejected calls for international monitors demanded by Israel to be based on its soil.

“Egypt will never accept any foreign presence of monitors on its land,” said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in a televised speech Saturday. “I say this is a red line I have not and will not allow to be crossed.”....

Also see: "Egypt had nothing to do with the Memorandum."

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