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March 21, 2022 2:27 pm

Egypt’s Sisi Hosts Israel’s Bennett, UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, March 20, 2022. Maya Alleruzzo/ Pool via REUTERS

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hosted Israel’s prime minister and the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates on Monday, two Egyptian security sources said, as talks to revive a nuclear deal with Iran remain in limbo.

Shared concerns over Iran saw the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain forge ties with Israel in 2020 to create a new regional axis at a time of uncertainty over the commitment of key security ally the United States.

Gulf states were excluded from talks to revive a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran that they have criticized for not addressing Iran’s missiles program and regional proxies, including in Yemen.

Egypt’s presidency said Sisi and the UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan held expanded bilateral talks on issues including economic investment, in the Red Sea Resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

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Sisi stressed Egypt’s commitment to security in the Gulf and “rejection of any practices that seek to destabilize it,” the presidency said in a statement.

There was no official comment on any talks involving Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, but the Egyptian sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the three leaders were holding discussions that covered the consequences of the war in Ukraine.

The UAE along with Saudi Arabia has resisted Western calls to hike oil output and contain a jump in crude prices caused by the conflict in Ukraine.

Egypt faces new economic pressures due to the war that saw it devalue its currency by 14% on Monday. It has called on financial support from wealthy Gulf states in the past.

Bennett traveled to Abu Dhabi in December, the first official visit by an Israeli leader following the normalization of relations between the two countries.

Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979 and last week announced an agreement on direct flights between Tel Aviv and Sharm el-Sheikh.

Bennett visited Egypt last September, the first official trip by an Israeli head of government to the country in a decade.

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