Egypt Rejects U.S. and Israeli Pressure to Withdraw Troops from Sinai
Cairo, August 29 (RHC)-- Egypt rejects U.S. and Israeli pressure to withdraw its troops from the Sinai, calling on Tel Aviv to postpone discussions over the deployment of troops and military equipment until a later date.
According to the Ma'an Palestinian news agency, a senior Egyptian security official said Cairo has been building up its military presence in the Sinai Desert since Islamic terrorists attacked an army post on August 5th and killed 16 Egyptian soldiers.
Israel objected on Tuesday to the move by Egypt's new leaders to deploy tanks in the volatile border area, calling the action a violation of the 1979 peace accord between the two nations. Officials say any major military moves by Egypt must be coordinated, giving Israel a veto over Egyptian security strategy.
As Israel continues to pressure Egypt to withdraw its tanks from Sinai, senior political sources in Jerusalem said on Wednesday that direct talks between Jerusalem and Cairo, as well as indirect talks between Israeli and U.S. officials on the matter, had become more frequent.
Under the peace accord, Egypt is allowed to have only lightly armed policemen in the zone along the border with Israel. Limited numbers of tanks are permitted only in a zone on the far western side of the peninsula, within 30 miles of the Suez Canal.