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Report: Israel Seeking Western Support for Mubarak

Israel has told its diplomats in the United States, Europe and elsewhere to encourage their host nations to support the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, daily Haaretz reported Monday.

The newspaper said Israel's foreign ministry told its diplomats to stress that it is in "the interest of the West" and of "the entire Middle East to maintain the stability of the regime in Egypt."

"We must therefore curb public criticism against President Hosni Mubarak," the message sent at the end of last week said, according to Haaretz.

The newspaper said the message was sent to Israeli diplomats in at least a dozen embassies in the United States, Canada, China, Russia and several European countries.

A foreign ministry spokesman and a spokesman for the prime minister's office questioned by AFP both refused to confirm or deny that such instructions had been issued.

Israel has so far kept a low profile on the upheaval rocking Egypt, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying on Sunday he had instructed ministers not to speak publicly about the situation.

He himself has said little more than that he was watching developments closely.

But a senior Israeli official quoted by Haaretz suggested Israel was unhappy with the public comments made so far by U.S. and European officials in response to the growing Egyptian crisis.

The United States and Europe have yet to call for Mubarak to step down, but they have called for a transition to democracy and warned him to allow peaceful protests to continue.

Source: Agence France Presse


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