23 November 2012

Egypt: Country's Morsi Emerges As Key Player - Washington Post

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi emerged as the key player in a high-wire feat of international diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinians on Wednesday, marking post-revolution Egypt's debut as a major force within the region, The Washington Post has said in a commentary.

Just months into his role as Egypts first democratically elected leader, Morsi became the main interlocutor between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, as Israel pummeled the enclave with airstrikes and Gaza-based militants fired rockets at southern Israeli towns.

The agreement that resulted - some of its details will be hammered out in coming days - was the work of the Egyptians, all sides agreed.

Morsi managed to keep Israel's trust while still reflecting Egyptian public opinion.

The end result - an agreement between Israel and Hamas, which have long refused to acknowledge each other, brokered by a neighboring Islamist government - would have been unthinkable before the Arab Spring reshaped the region less than two years ago.

"Egypt's new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace," US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday, announcing the cease-fire deal alongside Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr.

Her words were echoed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking just minutes before the truce took effect Wednesday night.

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