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Israeli leaders have apologized to the Egyptian president after a right-wing
Israeli leaders have apologized to the Egyptian president after a right-wing politician said Hosni Mubarak could "go to hell," the Haaretz paper said on Thursday.

The apology came after the leader of the opposition Yisrael Beiteinu party, Avigdor Lieberman, said in parliament on Wednesday that, "Time and time again our leaders go to Egypt to meet Mubarak, and he has never made a single official visit here."

"Any self-respecting leader would have made reciprocal visits a condition of such meetings," he went on. "If he wants to talk to us, he should come here, and if he doesn't want to come, he can go to hell."

The Israeli presidential press service issued a statement expressing its regret over the language used by Lieberman.

"Israel has a deep respect for President Mubarak and his state, and highly values their role in the advancement of the peace process in the region," the statement read.

"Egyptian-Israeli ties...are based on a mutual respect, and cannot be ruined by isolated outbursts," said Israeli President Shimon Peres, who also called the Egyptian leader to apologize.

Israel's outgoing prime minister, Ehud Olmert, also expressed his regret over the statement in a phone conversation with Mubarak.


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