Egypt's newly appointed ambassador to Israel, Atef Salem, reportedly told Israeli President Shimon Peres on Wednesday, that he had come to Israel on a mission of peace, according to an Israel Radio report.
Salem, whose appointment was announced several months ago, officially presented his credentials to Israel's head of state on Wednesday.
Salem took pains to stress that his country would abide by the bilateral agreements it is party to, even as it undergoes its transition to democracy, Israel Radio reported. "We face some problems but we shall overcome," he said, according to the report.
President Peres echoed the ambassador's conciliatory tone, telling the new envoy, "Please convey my best wishes to President [Mohammed] Morsi for his success, the success of Egypt and the Middle East." Peres' office later tweeted this remark on his Twitter account. Peres said he welcomed the positive developments in Egypt and said the Jewish state views its neighbor to the west as an important regional leader, Israel Radio reported. Peres went on to note the importance of having Israelis and Palestinians resume peace talks.
Salem has already worked in Israel as an Egyptian consul in the southern city of Eilat. An Egyptian official told Israel Hayom in September that Salem is a seasoned politician with a great deal of experience in diplomacy. For the time being, Salem is not expected to move his family to Tel Aviv.
Egypt's revolution in 2011 and the rise of pro-Islamist Mohammed Morsi has had Israeli policymakers worried that Egypt may scale back relations, particularly due to Morsi's ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and his anti-Israel rhetoric during his campaign for office. This concern was made worse after Morsi effectively stripped the Egyptian military of its powers on foreign policy and security in August. But his decision to appoint a permanent ambassador to Israel was greeted with a sigh of relief in Jerusalem.