Israel's New Envoy to Egypt Arrives to Assume Post

Shalom Cohen, a veteran diplomat, replaced Eli Shaked who retired in December.

CAIRO, Egypt - Israel's new ambassador to Egypt arrived in Cairo late Sunday to assume his post in the first Arab country to sign a peace deal with Jerusalem.

Shalom Cohen, a veteran diplomat, replaced Eli Shaked who retired in December.

The post has been vacant for five months.

The 50-year-old Cohen is an Arabic speaker who ran Israel's interests office in Tunisia from 1996 to 2000. Since then, he has served in senior positions in the Foreign Ministry, dealing with the Middle East.

Israel has kept an ambassador in Cairo over the past four years, though Egypt and Jordan withdrew their envoys from Tel Aviv at the beginning of the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict in 2000.

Egypt, which signed a peace deal with Israel in 1979, appointed a new ambassador to Israel in March.

The Israeli ambassador lives in a southern suburb of Cairo, with heavy police fortification.