Egypt’s Treaty With Israel Is ‘Rock Solid,’ ElBaradei Says

Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel is “rock solid,” Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.

“I assume Egypt will continue to respect it,” ElBaradei said when asked about the current treaty. He also said “everyone in Egypt, everyone in the Arab world wants to see an independent Palestinian state.”

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule has been shaken by almost two weeks of popular demonstrations. Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

Israel’s 10-year government bonds slid today for an eighth day amid the Egyptian unrest, pushing yields to their highest level since January 2010. The yield on the benchmark Mimshal Shiklit note due January 2020 rose 4 basis points to 5.1 percent at 12:05 p.m. in Tel Aviv. A percentage point is comprised of 100 basis points.

ElBaradei also said on NBC that President Hosni Mubarak “doesn’t have to leave Egypt at all.” ElBaradei said Mubarak does have to “cede power.”

Mubarak “needs to assume political responsibility and step down,” ElBaradei said. ElBaradei, former head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, said he wants to be “an agent for change” in Egypt.

Muslim Brotherhood

Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman and opposition leaders have agreed to study constitutional changes, with the Muslim Brotherhood saying Mubarak should remain in his job to speed the pace of amendments.

Suleiman, who met with the Wafd and Tagammu parties, as well as with the Muslim Brotherhood and billionaire Naguib Sawiris, may name a committee of 25 people today to prepare amendments, said Nabil Zaki, Tagammu party spokesman.

ElBaradei urged “a year of transition or a government of national unity, of caretaker government that prepares properly for free and fair election,” speaking on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program. “I think any election in the next coming of months before the right people establish parties and engage, it will be again a fake -- a fake democracy.”

ElBaradei suggested the creation of a three-person presidential council that would include a representative of the Egyptian Army and a civilian leader.

Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian ambassador to the U.S., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program today that Mubarak currently plans to leave office when his term ends. When asked if Mubarak would leave early, Shoukry said “that is a decision for president to make.”

U.S. Senator John Kerry, the Democrat from Massachusetts and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on “Meet the Press” that Egypt’s transition to a caretaker government is already under way. He said this process would be “enhanced” if Mubarak laid out a clear timetable for the transition.

“What is important is that the Egyptian people understand that their demands are being met,” Kerry said on NBC. “What is needed now is clarity about this process.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Miles Weiss in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at

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