Egyptian Foreign Minister Makes Rare Visit to Israel to Discuss Peace Talks
JNS.org – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Jerusalem as part of the first visit by an Egyptian foreign minister to Israel since 2007.
In their meeting on Sunday, the two leaders discussed the recently reached reconciliation deal between Turkey and Israel, agreements regarding natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and other issues.
“Our two nations have been at peace since we concluded our historic peace treaty 37 years ago, and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt and between Israel and Jordan are the cornerstones of stability in the region, and are critical assets for our countries. They are also the cornerstones of a broader regional peace and a broader stability that we hope to achieve. To this end, I welcome President [Abdel Fattah] El-Sisi’s recent offer of Egyptian leadership in efforts to advance peace with the Palestinians and a broader peace in our region,” Netanyahu said in a joint press conference with Shoukry.
“Today I call again on the Palestinians to follow the greatest example of Egypt and Jordan and join us for direct negotiations. This is the only way we can address all the outstanding problems between us, and turn the vision of peace based on two states for two peoples into a reality,” he said.
Shoukry said that “the situation of the Middle East is becoming ever more volatile and dangerous, particularly as the phenomena of terrorism continues to grow and proliferate, representing an existential threat to the peoples of the region and the world at large. No person, group or people are exempt; none are immune from this threat.”
Addressing Netanyahu, the Egyptian minister said that “ever since the cessation of negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides in April 2014, the situation on the ground has been in constant deterioration, be it on the humanitarian, economic or security level. The plight of the Palestinian people becomes more arduous every day, and the dream of peace and security moves further out of the Israeli people’s reach as long as the conflict continues.”
“The current state of affairs unfortunately is neither stable nor sustainable…[but] the vision of the two-state solution is not farfetched,” he said. “A multitude of ideas and initiatives have been proposed to make it a practical reality—particularly the Arab peace initiative. However, achieving this vision requires serious steps to build confidence as well as a genuine will that does not waver or wane under any circumstance. I would like to assure that Egypt’s commitment to supporting a just, comprehensive and sustainable resolution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and to supporting peace and security in the Middle East is a steadfast and unwavering commitment, and that the Egyptian leadership is serious in its determination to provide all possible forms of support in order to achieve this noble goal.”