A letter from the desk of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is sparking controversy in Egypt leaving people in disbelief that the Muslim Brotherhood leader had actually referred to the Israeli president as a "great friend."
Yet skeptical Egyptians who have called the letter a "Zionist fabrication" have now been silenced, as a spokesman for Morsi confirmed on Thursday the authenticity of the letter, which was given to Shimon Peres by Atef Salem, Egypt's ambassador to Israel, on Wednesday at an official ceremony in the president's residence.
The contents of the letter, which were leaked to the press, caused an uproar among Egyptians.
“Great and good friend,” Morsi wrote to Peres, “being desirous of maintaining and strengthening the cordial relations which so happily exist between our two countries, I have selected Mr. Atef Mohamed Salem Sayed El Ahl to be our ambassador…" Morsi then closed the letter, by expressing “highest esteem and consideration.”
A similar letter written by Morsi in August and addressed to Peres was also met with skepticism among Egyptians, but was later revealed to be authentic. In the letter, Morsi expressed his desire for peace in the region, writing, “I take this opportunity to reiterate that I am looking forward to exerting our best efforts to getting the Middle East Peace Process back to its right track in order to achieve security and stability for peoples of the region, including the Israeli people."