Report: Israeli, Egyptian Defense Ministers Discuss Sinai Operation

In phone conversation, Egypt's Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi tells Ehud Barak that Egypt remains committed to peace agreement between two nations, according to London-based al-Hayat.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi spoke this week for the first time since the latter was appointed to his post, according to a report published Friday morning by the London-based al-Hayat newspaper.

According to the report, al-Sisi attempted to convey a reassuring message to his Israeli counterpart, confirming Egypt's commitment to honoring the peace agreement between the two nations.

The conversation followed claims by Israel that the Egyptian military had moved forces into the Sinai Peninsula without coordinating with Israel, as Haaretz reported last week.

The phone call took place prior to a meeting between al-Sisi and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, during which Morsi was briefed on the operation in Sinai, according to al-Hayat.

This week, Palestinian media outlets reported that significant progress was made in talks between Israel and Egypt regarding military activity in the Sinai Peninsula.

The phone conversation between Barak and al-Sisi has not been confirmed by other media outlets.

Meanwhile, a senior Egyptian journalist told Haaretz that the Egyptian military plans to deploy unmanned aerial drones in the Sinai.

While unmanned aerial vehicles have proven effective in conflicts mountainous areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan, they are not currently part of Egypt's arsenal. Thus, Morsi is expected to raise the issue with senior U.S. government officials during an upcoming visit to Washington, D.C. next month.

Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and President Mohammed Morsi - AP - August 22, 2012.