Hezbollah criticism over Gaza siege angers Egyptian FM

Egypt on Monday criticised the Lebanese Hezbollah calling on Egyptians to take to the streets and open Gaza border for PAlestinians to get rid of Israel siege and violence.

Hezbollah criticism over Gaza siege angers Egyptian FM
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, on a visit to Turkey, suggested that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah wanted "to create trouble in Egypt" in the service of outside interests.

"The honourable (Egyptian) armed forces are capable of defending this homeland from people like you. You want to create chaos in this region as a service to interests that are not for the good of this region," Aboul Gheit said. He was quoted by the Egyptian state news agency MENA.

The Egyptian government has been under attack for the past two days because of its collaboration with Israel in imposing a blockade on the Gaza Palestinians for the past six months.

Aboul Gheit is also on the defensive because he was photographed holding hands with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni two days before Israel began the air offensive which has so far killed more than 325 people in Gaza.

In Ankara he was responding to speeches at a Hezbollah rally in Beirut on Sunday, where speakers accused Egypt of complicity with Israel against Gaza and called on the Egyptian government to end its policy of collaboration with the blockade.

"The Egyptian position is the cornerstone of what is going on in Gaza ... Egyptian officials: if you don't open the Rafah crossing then you are partners in the crime, partners in the murder," Nasrallah said.

He urged Egyptians to take to the streets to force Cairo to open the border with Gaza.

Egyptian officials defends collaboration with Israel, saying "they fear that if they opened their Gaza border without restrictions, Israel would seal its border, forcing Egypt to take responsibility for the poor coastal strip's 1.5 million people and risk an influx of Gazans."

Aboul Gheit defended that certain satellite television channels, states and individuals had declared war on Egypt. "If that means a declaration of war against the Egyptian people, then the Egyptian people will stand up to this war," he added.

But demonstrators in Egypt have been harshly critical of their own government for working with the Israelis on Gaza.

Nasrallah said on Monday Hezbollah had decided not to hold protests at the Egyptian embassy to avoid trouble. "We are embarking on a peaceful movement and a peaceful demand that the Egyptian position should change but we are not going to attack anyone," he said.

Distrust between Hezbollah and the Egyptian government dates back at least to the Israeli-Lebanese war of 2006, when Egypt initially accused Hezbollah of recklessness.


Reuters
Last Mod: 30 Aralık 2008, 15:09
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