Suleiman's Visit Eases Tension

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman's meetings with Israeli government officials in Jerusalem on Wednesday eased recent tensions between the two countries.

Suleiman also met with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, despite Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit remarks last week that his government would not work with the new foreign minister.

Lieberman, known for his no nonsense, less than diplomatic rhetoric, recently criticized Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's refusal to pay an official visit to Israel for nearly three decades. Aboul-Gheit was deeply offended by Lieberman's remarks.

"When a man speaks, he must be aware that the words traveling from his brain to his tongue will have consequences," Aboul-Gheit told his interviewer.

"Therefore we will work with the government of Israel, but not through the Israeli foreign minister," he said.

"I do not imagine that he will set foot on Egyptian soil so long as his positions, which we have seen before, remain as they are," Aboul-Gheit said.

During the talk between Suleiman and Lieberman, which took place between meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, the foreign minister's affirmation of Egypt as a strategic partner of the Jewish state were well received.

Mubarak had already invited Netanyahu to meet with him, and Suleiman also extended an invitation to Lieberman, as well as Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who has met with Mubarak in the past, Israel Radio reported.

Source: YNet news

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