Monday, October 25, 2004

750 more

Egypt wants to move 750 additional border guards to the Israel-Egypt border.

Egypt has proposed the deployment of two border guard battalions along its border with Israel in the Sinai to prevent smuggling. The force's 750 soldiers are equipped with sidearms and armored vehicles but not anti-tank rockets or mortars.

The Egyptians are proposing a change in the military appendix to the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, expanding the number of troops permitted in Area C adjacent to the border, where at present only an Egyptian police contingent is stationed.

If Israel agrees, the force will be deployed beginning on January 1, 2005. Egypt made the proposal to Israel during the last meeting of the special security committee on the Egyptian side of Rafah on October 5.

Israel opposes any changes to the peace treaty. Instead, it has suggested an exchange of letters outlining the new security arrangements. The details of the agreement will be discussed during the meeting in Israel set for November 11 between Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and heads of the security establishment.

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