Diplomacy

Netanyahu, Sisi Meet Publicly at UN, Discuss Peace Prospects

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a resumption of Israel-Palestinian peace talks in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, The Algemeiner reported.

The meeting between the two leaders took place hours after United States President Donald Trump voiced his support for the two-state solution in front of the full assembly. Echoing the president’s sentiment, the Egyptian leader called for “a just and a comprehensive solution based on a two-state solution.”

The Trump administration is currently drawing up a regional peace plan, backed by Arab states, to end the deadlock in the peace negotiations. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been suspended since 2014 and efforts to revive them have not been successful.

While Israel has agreed to engage with the U.S. and Arab allies in formulating the plan, the Palestinian leadership has categorically boycotted any efforts by the Trump administration and refuses to negotiate with the White House’s Middle East team.

During the two-hour meeting between al-Sisi and Netanyahu, the Egyptian leader “stressed the importance of resuming the negotiations between the two sides, the Palestinians and the Israelis, to reach a just and a comprehensive solution based on a two-state solution and in accordance with the international treaties.”

Netanyahu and al-Sisi met in public for the first time in 2017. Israeli media reported that Netanyahu in May made a secret trip to Egypt to speak with the Egyptian leader who, along with the UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov, has attempted to broker a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas.

Earlier this week, a senior Hamas official denied that the Egyptian-led talks on reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority and a lasting truce with Israel have collapsed. The Islamist terror group Hamas exercises complete political and military control over the Strip, and both Israel and Egypt enforce tight restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza, as a result of the violent nature of Gaza’s rulers.

Egypt was the first of a handful of Arab countries to recognize Israel under a 1979 peace treaty and the two countries have since maintained close coordination on security as well as energy ties. Netanyahu said in a tweet on Wednesday that his talks with al-Sisi focused on “regional developments.”

[Photo: IsraeliPM / YouTube ]