Egyptian FM confirms Israeli warship crossing Suez Canal
Published: Jul 15, 2009 09:11 AM Updated: May 25, 2011 12:52 PM

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit confirmed here Tuesday that an Israeli warship, the Eilat, crossed Egypt's Suez Canal from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.

Any military or civilian vessel can pass through the Suez Canalas long as it accords with Convention of Constantinople and has no aggressive intention towards the country that owns the canal, Abul Gheit said.

"Egypt has peace agreement with Israel and its warships have made crossings of the strategic waterway before, it's not a new problem," he told reporters at a press conference after Tuesday's ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Israel's Yediot Aharonot daily reported earlier this month that an Israeli submarine also made way of the Suez Canal in June to reach the Red Sea. The move was widely considered as a challenge to its arch-foe Iran, which Israel accused of trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Iran has denied.

The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigating around Africa.

Signed in 1888, the Convention of Constantinople was a treaty interpreted as a guaranteed right of passage of all ships through the Suez Canal during war and peace.

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