Netanyahu meets el-Sisi in New York for the first time

The meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was the first public meeting of the two leaders, who discussed the efforts to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Earlier, el-Sisi met with Mahmoud Abbas and discussed the peace process as well as the reconciliation between the Palestinian factions.
Netanyahu and el-Sisi in New York Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon GPO/Channel 2 News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in New York on Monday night. This was the first public meeting of the two leaders since el-Sisi began his term in office. In a briefing to reporters, Netanyahu declined to address the meeting despite the fact that it was officially publicized. “President el-Sisi expressed a willingness to assist the efforts towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians and in the region,” Netanyahu’s office said in response.

Netanyahu had met earlier with US President Donald Trump. The two discussed resuming the talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the Tehran Nuclear Deal and Iran’s strengthening capabilities in the Middle East. Netanyahu told Trump he believes that advancing the negotiations with the Palestinians is dependent on improving Israel’s relations with the Arab world.

In a briefing to reporters after the meeting with Trump, Netanyahu addressed the peace talks with the Palestinians and said that he has not changed the stance that he publicly expressed during his speech at Bar Ilan University in which he announced that he supports the two-state solution. Nevertheless, he clarified that “Israel will always remain in control of the security west of the Jordan [river]” and therefore he “does not want to go into the question of what to call it [the future Palestinian entity].” Netanyahu also added that as far as he is concerned, “the objective is peace and security. There will be no peace if we cannot anchor Israel’s security.”

El-Sisi also met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in New York. The two Arab leaders discussed the efforts to advance the peace process and relations with Israel in light of the existing tensions since the Temple Mount clashes. According to a report by the Ma'an News Agency, Abbas thanked el-Sisi for the role he took upon himself to assist with the reconciliation between the Palestinian factions and expressed his hope for continuing the cooperation between the sides for the benefit of their “mutual interests.” The Egyptian president praised the progress in the relations between Fatah and Hamas and stressed the importance of attaining national Palestinian unity.

As for the peace process with Israel, el-Sisi said that peace cannot be imposed by a third-party and can only be attained with the existence of a genuine readiness on both sides. He also added that Egypt is active in its efforts to advance the process and is trying to bring about a fair agreement.

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