Foreign secretary Wiliam Hague said Israel’s negative reaction to the turmoil in the Arab state may inflame tensions and slow or halt the struggling Middle East peace talks.
Speaking on a tour of north Africa and the Middle East as he visits five countries in three days, Hague said the peace process risked becoming a “casualty of uncertainty in the region”.
He said that despite the opportunity for countries like Tunisia and Egypt after their recent protests, there was a “legitimate fear” that the Middle East peace process will lose momentum.
He accepted there were differences between the British government and both Israel and Washington on the need to reinvigorate peace talks quickly.
He told the BBC: “Amidst the opportunity for countries like Tunisia and Egypt, there is a legitimate fear that the Middle East peace process will lose further momentum and be put to one side, and will be a casualty of uncertainty in the region.
In the past week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded aggressively to the calls for change in Egypt, pledging to “reinforce the might of the state of Israel” regardless of how the situation was resolved.
Also on Wednesday, Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said that terror organizations are the primary threat to the security of Egypt and that many operatives of Al-Qaida and other Jihadist organizations had escaped from the country’s prisons recently.