Western countries condemn Israeli embassy attack

10th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Western countries Saturday condemned an assault by protesters on the Israeli embassy in Egypt that prompted the ambassador to flee and called on Cairo to protect the mission.

"I strongly condemn the attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo," British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement released by his office.

"We have urged the Egyptian authorities to meet their responsibilities under the Vienna Convention to protect diplomatic property and personnel, including the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

"They have reassured us that they take these very seriously."

Six embassy staff had to be plucked to safety by Egyptian commandos after protesters stormed the building late on Friday, an unnamed Israeli official said.

Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon, other staff and dependants all left Egypt but a senior diplomat remained behind, he said.

The embassy attack was the worst since Israel established its mission in Egypt after becoming the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state in 1979.

Cameron urged Egypt, whose long-time president Hosni Mubarak was forced out of power in February by a revolt, to respect the accord.

"The Egyptian authorities have previously said that they will uphold Egypt's international agreements including its peace treaty with Israel," said the prime minister.

"We welcome this and look to Egypt to honour this commitment."

The Spanish foreign ministry said Madrid "expresses its strongest condemnation of the attack suffered by the Israeli embassy in Cairo ... at the hands of groups of protesters," while noting that the Egyptian authorities tried to stop it.

"Spain expresses its desire that Egypt and Israel overcome this crisis as soon as possible, given that the fluid relations between the two countries, founded on the 1979 peace accord, is one of the pillars of security in the Middle East," it added.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini called on young Egyptians not to give in to "violence and terror" after the peaceful demonstrations that led to Mubarak's ouster.

The reports from Egypt "are a very worrying signal that violence is prevailing over democratic opposition," he wrote on his blog.

They are also "a great disappointment for all those who hailed and still hail the Arab Spring as a decisive passage towards the reign of freedom."

He warned that young Egyptians risk losing the world's sympathy and would end up with the same tyranny they had opposed.

US President Barack Obama late Friday expressed "great concern" over the incident in a telephone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, officials said.

He called on Egypt "to honour its international obligations to safeguard the security of the Israeli embassy."

© 2011 AFP

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