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Israel’s Barak rejects Egypt remark made by aide

FILE - In this Thursday March 10 2005 file phothen-Chief intelligence Omar Suleiman right Egypt talks Amos Gilad top aide

FILE - In this Thursday, March 10, 2005 file photo, then-Chief of intelligence Omar Suleiman, right, of Egypt, talks to Amos Gilad, a top aide to Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, following Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak meeting with Mofaz, not pictured, at the Red sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. Israel's defense minister has repudiated remarks by a top official who called the Egyptian government a "shocking dictatorship." Ehud Barak issued a statement on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 saying that the remarks by Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad do not reflect Israel's position. Gilad said there is no dialogue between Israel and the Egyptian leader and said he doesn’t think there will be. (AP Photo, File)

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Updated: November 3, 2012 4:16PM

JERUSALEM — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has distanced himself from remarks made by one of his senior aides, who dubbed Egypt’s government a “shocking dictatorship” and said there was no dialogue between the countries.

Barak said the comments, made by Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad, do not reflect Israel’s position. Barak also said that Gilad’s words came after he spoke at length about the importance of the peace treaty and proper relations between Israel and Egypt.

Gilad was speaking Friday to students in the city of Herzliya. The remarks were widely reported by Israeli media.

“There has been a tremendous historic change in Egypt with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Gilad said.

“We do not exist as far as they are concerned. There is no dialogue on the high political level between us with this president, and I don’t think there will be in my opinion. Out of desire for democracy has grown a shocking dictatorship. Where are all the young people who demonstrated in Tahrir square? They have disappeared,” Gilad said.

Israel’s relations with Egypt have been strained since the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising last year. His successor, Mohammed Morsi, hails from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Israel has refrained from criticizing Morsi’s government, and Gilad’s comments were rare.

The peace agreement with Egypt is critical to Israeli security, and Israel’s leaders do not want to damage the already strained relationship.

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