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Israel won't accept Egypt treaty changes: Lieberman

AFP, Sunday 23 Sep 2012

Israel will not accept alterations to its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday, as ties between the two countries continue to fray.

"There is not the slightest possibility that Israel will accept the modification of the peace treaty with Egypt," Lieberman told Israeli public radio. "We will not accept any modification of the Camp David accords."

The comments come as tensions rise between Egypt and Israel, with speculation the government of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi could seek to alter parts of the decades-old treaty.

Ties are also strained over the issue of security in Egypt's Sinai, which borders Israel and has increasingly become a haven for militants, some of whom have used the territory as a launching ground for attacking the Jewish state.

On Friday, an Israeli soldier and three militants who infiltrated from Sinai were killed in a clash along the border, after troops opened fire on the gunmen as they crossed the frontier.

Israel has urged Egypt to tackle the growing lawlessness in Sinai, and Cairo has responded by boosting its military presence in the peninsula, but that has also raised concern in the Jewish state, because the Camp David treaty limits the number of Egyptian troops that can be present in the territory.

"Egypt must fulfill its obligations in Sinai," Lieberman said on Sunday.

Egypt launched an unprecedented military operation in the peninsula after militants killed 16 Egyptian border police in northern Sinai on August 5.

Israel has warned that it expects Cairo to withdraw the military reinforcements once the operation was over.

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