Egypt rejects report that its leaders quietly adheres to US Jerusalem position

Pence reschedules Middle East trip for later this month

The Egyptian government vociferously denied on Sunday a New York Times report that suggested that Egypt's outward policy towards US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, was contradictory to internal discussions held behind closed doors in Cairo.

Captain Ashraf al-Kholi secretly called a number of influential Egyptian television hosts and informed them of both Cairo's public and private stance on the controversial decision - which they were to convey to viewers. He told the hosts that instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it. Palestinians, he suggested, should content themselves with the dreary West Bank town that now houses the Palestinian Authority, Ramallah.

The recordings in Arabic, aired by the Mekameleen TV network late on Sunday, were first reported on by the New York Times and appeared to contradict Egypt's public condemnation of the USA move. The Times said the recordings all appeared to match public recordings of the hosts' voices and that one of the hosts, Azmi Megahed, confirmed during an interview with the newspaper the authenticity of the recording in which he is heard agreeing with Kholi.

A statement issued by the State Information Service said; "Egypt's positions on global issues are not derived from alleged leaks from an anonymous source".

"Egypt's positions on worldwide issues are not derived from alleged leaks from an anonymous source".

In addition to the call with Megahed, three other audio recordings of strikingly similar telephone conversations with the same intelligence agent, Capt. Kholi, were all provided to The New York Times by an intermediary supportive of the Palestinian cause and opposed to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. "We have enough on our plate as you know".

He added, "I think the United States is working intentionally to try to create an atmosphere which says that their move has been committed or taken with a tacit approval of certain Arab governments". "Hamas would be reborn once more", Kholi said, according to the paper.

The statement further claimed that the government did not know who Kholi was.

He added, according to the Times, "At the end of the day, later on, Jerusalem won't be much different from Ramallah". "What matters is ending the suffering of the Palestinian people", Captain Kholi said.

Ofir Winter, an analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies who specializes in Egypt, says that Egyptian authorities were anxious to prevent Islamists from being able to take advantage of Trump's Jerusalem declaration and therefore "wanted to control the height of the flames".

Shortly after Trump's Jerusalem decision, Egypt submitted a resolution to the UN Security Council demanding its reversal. "Concessions are a must and if we reach a concession whereby Jerusalem will be - Ramallah will be the capital of Palestine, to end the war and so no one else dies, then we would go for it".

In a statement released by the Egyptian government, they affirmed that those mentioned in the report do not host talk shows Haaretz reported.

One of the phone calls was also to well-known Egyptian actor and singer, Yousra, who heeded his advice.

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