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Thursday, March 3, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Egypt's Tantawi vows to maintain 'deep ties' with Palestinian Authority

RAMALLAH — Egypt's new military-led regime has pledged to maintain close cooperation with the Palestinian Authority.


Officials said PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has received a letter from the Egyptian leadership that vowed to continue close relations between Cairo and Ramallah. They said the letter was signed by Egyptian Higher Military Council chairman Hussein Tantawi.

"Tantawi stressed in the letter the deep ties and relations on all levels between Palestine and Egypt and the need to keep and preserve these ties," the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

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The letter, received by Abbas on March 1, was believed to be the first formal communication by the new military-led regime in Egypt since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11. The civilian government has been nominally led by Vice President Omar Suleiman, the former intelligence chief who maintained nearly daily contact with Abbas as well as the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip, Middle East Newsline reported.

"Egypt will continue to actively work on all fronts of its interest and foreign policy priorities," the Tantawi letter was quoted as saying.

Mubarak was said to have been the closest ally of Abbas. Under Mubarak, Egypt coordinated all PA positions regarding Israel and the United States as well as helped equip and train Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.

The Tantawi letter said the new regime intends to continue consultation and coordination with the PA. No further details were given.

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