Israel reinstates envoy to Egypt truce talks
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reinstated his pointman to Egyptian-brokered truce talks with Hamas on Wednesday after the envoy apologised for publicly criticising the government's negotiating strategy.
Olmert's office said it would replace Amos Gilad on Monday after a newspaper quoted him as accusing the premier of hurting Cairo's-US backed efforts to consolidate the Jan. 18 ceasefire that ended a three-week Israeli assault in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Gilad, an aide to Defence Minister Ehud Barak, apologised to Olmert and was reinstated, the prime minister's office said.
"The remarks were unjustified, were said in error and it would have been better if they had not been said," it quoted Gilad as saying.
The dispute showed the political and personal faultlines in the outgoing coalition government, where Barak's centre-left Labour party is junior partner to Olmert's centrist Kadima.
Both parties appear to be heading into opposition as a result of Israel's parliamentary election on Feb. 10 and the decision last Friday by President Shimon Peres to ask right-wing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government.