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Egypt's Salafist Watan Party denies speaking to Israeli press

Salafist party describes Times of Israel press report – which claimed to quote party chairman Emad Abdel-Ghafour – as 'fabricated and completely untrue'

Ahram Online, Monday 27 May 2013
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Egypt's Salafist Watan Party on Monday denied that party chairman Emad Abdel-Ghafour had granted any interviews to the Israeli press, insisting that recent media reports to this effect were "false."

The Times of Israel, an Israeli English-language news website, published a report on Sunday quoting Abdel-Ghafour as saying: "We have no problem with peace with Israel."

According to the report, Abdel-Ghafour had uttered the words to the newspaper's correspondent "on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum," currently underway in Jordan.

In an official statement on Monday, the party described the Israeli press report as "fabricated and completely untrue."

It went on to say that the Watan Party stood by Egypt's "national choice to reject normalisation with Israel."

The Watan Party was founded last January after splitting from the Salafist Nour Party – also headed by Abdel-Ghafour at the time – amid internecine party disputes.

In December 2011, reports emerged in Israeli daily Haaretz that members of the Nour Party had met with Israeli officials and assured them that the Salafist party would respect Egypt's Camp David peace treaty with the Zionist state.

The claims, however, were strenuously denied by Nour Party officials.

Egypt signed the Camp David Accords with Israel in 1978, formally ending years of military hostility. Following Egypt's 2011 uprising, however, calls for the modification of the treaty's terms have been issued by a number of political parties and figures.

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