It was report a few days ago that Egypt went back on its decision to ban Avigdor Lieberman from visiting. Now, it's been reported that this isn't quite so
Cairo's intelligence chief did not invite Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to come visit when the two officials met in Jerusalem on Wednesday, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said Thursday.
However, another Egyptian official who attended Omar Suleiman's meeting with Lieberman would not rule out the possibility that an invitation had indeed been extended to the foreign minister, or would be in the near future.
"Egypt welcomes any official from any country that respects Egypt and the Egyptian leadership," the second official told The Jerusalem Post.
Lieberman "said he respects Egypt and respects the president. Then that's it... this is the basis."
The unnamed official called Lieberman's remarks, which apparently stopped short of an apology to Suleiman for past remarks, "a positive development" and a change from his previous statements about Egypt.
Following the meeting, sources close to Lieberman told reporters that Suleiman had invited him to Egypt, but Zaki said, "no he did not" in a text message he sent to the Post.
Lieberman and his aides would not respond to inquiries about the meeting or reports of an invitation on Thursday.
Also, in a rare public statement, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak addressed the issue on Thursday, confirming only that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had been invited, and that when he came to Egypt, he would come unaccompanied by any other minister.
"The Israeli prime minister might come to us during May... and some say that he will bring with him [Lieberman]... The Israeli prime minister will come alone. The only one who will come with him is the director of his office and no other minister will come with him," Mubarak said, according to Arab press accounts.
Officials in Jerusalem noted this is usually the case.
Last week, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told Russia Today TV that Cairo would deal with the new Israeli government, but not via Lieberman.
He also said Lieberman "will not visit Cairo. He will certainly not visit as long as his positions remain as they are."
It really doesn't matter what Egypt's positions are. I expect relations between Egypt and Lieberman to be very cold, that's for sure.
Labels: anti-semitism, Egypt, Israel