The United States supports Egypt's military deployments in the Sinai peninsula, but insists such actions be coordinated with Israel while observing the 1979 peace treaty, State Department spokeswoman said Tuesday.
"The Egyptians work hard now to defeat terror and turn back other security threats in the Sinai, we've been supportive of those efforts," said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland in Washington.
"We have encouraged them in those efforts not only to enhance security in Egypt but also to enhance security for neighbors, security in the region," she said, referring to Israel. "What we want to see is Egypt deal strongly with the security threats and do so in a way that supports the security of neighbors and is in keeping with its obligations."
Haaretz reported on Thursday Egypt deployed armored military forces in the peninsula, some of which without Israel's prior approval, as required by the 1979 accords. Israel's Prime Minister Office and Defense Ministry refused to publicly comment on the incident and only agreed to say that both side keep communication channels open.
A top Egyptian military official told Reuters Monday that Egypt intends to deploy additional reinforcements into Sinai, including armored tanks, fighter jets and rocket launchers in continued efforts to fight Islamic terrorist cells in the region.
In a first official statement, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Tuesday told 20 senior Israeli diplomats that Israel must not ignore Egyptian violations of the Israel-Egypt peace accord.
"We have to be insistent with the Egyptians and be strict about crossing every last 't,' because otherwise we will be on a slippery slope with regards to everything related to the peace agreement," Lieberman said.
In a op-ed published in the Washington Post on Monday, former U.S. envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross wrote that the U.S. administration should reconsider supporting Egypt financially if the country continues to violate its international obligations, the peace treaty with Israel included.
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