Israel welcomes Egyptian treaty announcement

JERUSALEM Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:27pm EST

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed on Saturday a declaration by Egypt's new military rulers that they would honor treaties, an issue that for Israel had cast a shadow over Hosni Mubarak's fall.

Israel's 1979 peace treaty with Egypt has been the cornerstone of its security throughout the 30 years of Mubarak's rule, and it watched warily throughout the weeks of popular protests that brought the Egyptian leader down on Friday.

In one of the Egyptian military's first acts since Mubarak placed it in charge, a senior officer said in a televised statement that Egypt would continue to observe all "regional and international obligations and treaties."

Netanyahu has said there is a risk Islamic militants could use the instability in Egypt to take power.

"The longstanding peace treaty between Israel and Egypt has greatly contributed to both countries and is the cornerstone for peace and stability in the entire Middle East," the Israeli leader said in a statement.

Earlier on Saturday, Netanyahu's finance minister said it was in both countries' interests to keep the peace treaty.

(Writing by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Peter Graff)

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