Foreign Ministry: Israel-Egypt Diplomatic Crisis Is Behind Us

Top Israeli diplomat in Cairo meets with Egyptian Foreign Ministry officials; Egypt calls on Israel to halt strikes in Gaza.

Shalom Cohen, currently the chief diplomat at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, met with Egyptian Foreign Ministry officials on Saturday evening to discuss the crisis in relations between the two countries following Thursday’s attack on the Israel-Egypt border.

Cohen presented Egyptian officials with Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s statement, released earlier Saturday, in which Barak expressed regret over the deaths of three Egyptian policemen on Thursday. IDF soldiers fired across the Israel-Egypt border as they intercepted the terrorist cell behind the attacks near Eilat in which eight Israelis were killed.

Egypt Israel - AFP - Aug. 19, 2011

Cohen did not take responsibility for the deaths of the three policemen on behalf of the state of Israel, although he did say that Israel was interested in carrying out a joint investigation into the incident with the Egyptian government.

During the course of the meeting, Egyptian officials expressed their objection to the killing of the policemen and called on Israel to immediately put a halt to strikes on Gaza.

The officials also stated that the possible recall of Egypt's ambassador from Israel would not be discussed at the meeting.

Sources in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said that the tension between Egypt and Israel is still high, although it looks like the crisis surrounding the issue of the recall of the ambassador is over.

“Right now, contact must be continued in order to dissipate the tension and to consolidate the security cooperation on the border between the two countries, “ Foreign Ministry sources said.

The deaths of the Egyptian policemen fueled a demand from Egypt for an apology and gave rise to a report that Egypt was to recall its ambassador to Israel, which was later denied by the Egyptian government.