Egypt's new ambassador to Israel has formally assumed his post, saying his country's new Islamist government remains committed to peace with the Jewish state.
Israel and Egypt signed a historic peace agreement in 1979 that has since been the bedrock of relations between the countries, but ties have grown tense since longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak — a steadfast supporter of the treaty — was ousted in a popular uprising last year. Islamist Mohammed Morsi was elected his successor in June.
Presenting his credentials to Israeli President Shimon Peres, Ambassador Atef Salem al-Ahl brought with him a message of peace.
Ambassador Atef Salem al-Ahl:
"I came to confirm that we are really working for mutual trust and transparency, and we are committed to all the agreements we have signed with Israel."
Jordan's new ambassador to Israel, Walid Obeidat, has also officially taken up his post, which had been vacant for two years.
Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab countries to have peace treaties with Israel. The agreements are widely unpopular in both Arab countries because of Israel's policies towards the Palestinians. A large part of the Jordanian population is of Palestinian origin.
Egypt's new president, who hails from the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, has been cooler toward Israel than Mubarak's autocratic regime was. But the Brotherhood repeatedly has said it will abide by the peace accord but has called for changes in the limits on troop numbers in the Sinai Peninsula, saying they impinge on Egyptian sovereignty.