Amending treaty with Israel ‘a matter of time,’ says presidential adviser

An adviser to President Mohamed Morsy has said that amending the 1979 peace treaty signed with Israel is "a matter of time," adding that such a move is necessary to restore full Egyptian control over Sinai.

Mohamed Essmat Seif al-Dawla, who has been publicly advocating the move, told Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jareeda in an interview published on Wednesday, "There is no reason for keeping a treaty unchanged for three decades."

He added that the 1979 accord "preserves Israel's national security more than Egypt's, which constitutes a blatant violation of Egyptian sovereignty," and that it would not endure under Egypt's new leaders.

Dawla, a member of the activist Kefaya movement and one the opponents of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, is an engineer and a researcher for national issues. He also belongs to an anti-Zionist group, according to state news agency MENA.

"While Israel has only three kilometers of limited armament zones within its soils, known as Zone D, Egypt has A, B, and C zones in the Sinai Peninsula with different degrees of armament," he said.

Dawla said the agreement means Egypt is deprived of control over large areas that have turned into a hotbed for criminal activity and "espionage networks."

"I am reflecting the opinion of the Egyptian public and the political forces which, despite their disagreement, concur on the need to amend, or cancel, the treaty," Seif al-Dawla added.

Dawla said he had earlier called for organizing political events to pressure decision-makers to modify the treaty.

Since Mubarak's resignation last year, Brotherhood leaders occasionally said they would put the unpopular 1979 peace treaty with Israel to a public referendum.

The treaty divides Sinai into three areas and limits Egypt's armed forces to stationing 26,000 soldiers in two of those. The third zone is secured by police, who experts say are poorly armed, as a condition of the treaty, and lack military experience.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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