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Cairo envoy may return to Israel

Egypt is considering returning its ambassador to Israel. This move is apparently aimed at improving relations strained since last year's Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

Egypt recalled its ambassador to Israel last September after the massacre of Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, Monitor contributor James Dorsey writes. Egypt insisted that the ambassador would only return once a timetable had been established for the withdrawal of all Israeli forces.

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But in a clear softening of their position, Egyptian officials now say that the US-sponsored Lebanese-Israeli agreement on the withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon ''can be considered as an agreed withdrawal schedule.'' Lebanon and Israel have ratified the agreement, but Syrian rejection blocks carrying it out.

Egyptian Ambassador Saad Mortada, according to senior Egyptian officials, will return to Israel shortly to take his leave from Israeli officials before retiring from the Egyptian Foreign Service next month. Egypt has not yet appointed a successor for Mr. Mortada, but Foreign Ministry officials in Cairo say that this ''does not constitute a problem.''

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