Diplomacy

Ahead of UN Speech, Netanyahu Meets Egypt’s Al-Sisi Publicly for First Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met on Monday night in New York ahead of the UN General Assembly.

Netanyahu’s office said the 90 minute meeting included a discussion about a range of regional issues and that al-Sissi expressed his desire to support Israeli-Palestinian regional peace efforts.

It was the first public meeting between the two leaders since al-Sisi won the Presidency in June 2014. They have, though, met in private – in Aqaba in January 2016 and in Cairo later last year.

Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry and the Egyptian intelligence head Khaled Fawzy, who has been heavily involved in the recent negotiations over a Palestinian unity government, also participated in yesterday’s meeting, according to Haaretz.

Since al-Sisi’s rise to power, there has been an improvement in Israeli-Egyptian relations, especially in terms of security. Israel has recently returned its Ambassador to Cairo after an eight month absence caused by security fears.

On Monday morning, al-Sisi met with a group of American Jewish leaders to discuss the Trump administration’s efforts to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. According to two participants in the meeting, the Egyptian President sounded optimistic and said Egypt was interested in helping. He also said the best way to advance the peace process was through a regional approach involving the Arab states.

Al-Sissi also met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas earlier in the day.

On Tuesday, Israeli Army Radio discussed the fact that the Israeli flag was missing from the meeting. Danny Danon, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, said it was due to the fact that the visit took place at the hotel where the Egyptians were staying and that the Israelis were guests. Uzi Arad, former head of the National Security Council said that it reflected the fragile state of relations between the countries.

(via BICOM)

[Photo: IsraeliPM / YouTube]