Egypt committed to Israel peace treaty as long as reciprocal: FM Shoukry

Amr Kandil , Monday 12 Feb 2024

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry promised that Egypt would adhere to the 1979 peace treaty as long it remains reciprocal, dismissing reports from unofficial sources it was considering suspending the agreement over developments in Gaza.

Sameh Shoukry
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry with pose for an image on Monday 12 February, 2024. Photo courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Shoukry made his remarks during a press conference with Slovenia’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon.

He stressed that Egypt has upheld its peace treaty with Israel for the past 40 years, serving as the foundation for diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Shoukry stated that Egypt is working strenuously to reach an agreement between Israel and Hamas to facilitate the exchange of detainees between both sides and ensure the entry of humanitarian aid into the strip.

On Sunday, AP cited two Egyptian officials and a Western diplomat as saying that Egypt had threatened to suspend the peace treaty if Israel expanded its offensive into the densely populated city of Rafah on the border with Egypt.

Shoukry also addressed reporting by Al-Arabiya that claimed Egypt warned Israel that it would “review and downgrade the diplomatic relations” if Tel Aviv storms Rafah.

He did not confirm or deny Al-Arabiya’s reporting, but did express that he was unaware of the sources cited by the Saudi news channel.

Targeting Rafah

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed on Sunday Egypt’s strong rejection of reported Israeli intentions to launch a military operation in Rafah, calling for uniting all international and regional efforts to prevent the potential assault.

Egypt has also warned against “systematic” Israeli measures aiming to displace Gazans to Sinai, a matter that Egypt has deemed as a “red line.”

In its Sunday statement, the foreign ministry pointed to the attacks on Rafah and the obstruction of humanitarian aid as examples of such measures.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asserted that sending troops into Rafah is necessary to win the four-month-old war against the Palestinian movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip, brushing aside global rejection of the assault.

More than half of Gaza's 2.3 million population have sought refuge in Rafah.

Rafah city is divided between Egypt and Palestine through the Philadelphi corridor, a buffer zone that falls under the control of Egypt since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

The Israeli PM previously expressed Israeli intentions to take control of the narrow corridor, stretching 14 kilometres along the Egypt-Gaza border.

In response, Head of Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) Diaa Rashwan highlighted that the "occupation" of the Philadelphi Corridor by Israeli forces would breach the annexes of the Egypt-Israeli Peace Treaty signed in Washington in 1979.

What is the treaty?

The Egypt–Israel peace treaty was signed by late Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat and then-Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin in 1979 in Washington, following the 1978 Camp David Accords.

The agreement, signed in the wake of the Egyptian victory in the 1973 War against Israel, ended the Israeli occupation of the Sinai Peninsula since the 1967 War. As per the treaty, Egypt became the first Arab country to officially recognize Israel.

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