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Egypt’s Foreign Minister Arrives in Israel in First Visit in Nine Years

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Arrives in Israel in First Visit in Nine Years

Sameh Shoukry at a press conference in Berlin in January 2016 (Axel Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)
Sameh Shoukry at a press conference in Berlin in January 2016 (Axel Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs arrived in Israel on Sunday in a visit aimed at boosting peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s visit, which also included a trip to the West Bank and meetings with top Palestinian officials in Ramallah two weeks ago, comes less than two months after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s renewed calls for peace and is the first such visit in nine years, reported Haaretz.

Shoukry is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.

“It shows the change in relations between Israel and Egypt, including Sisi’s important call to advance the peace process [both] with the Palestinians and with Arab states,” said the Israeli Prime Minister about the visit.

Shoukry will also visit Jerusalem during his visit. Despite the visit, Egypt maintains that it is committed to a two-state solution and a Palestinian state based on the internationally recognized 1967 borders.

In a speech in May, President Sisi said there is a “real opportunity” for peace, stressing the importance of the international community in reaching a solution.

“I am saying to the Israelis that there is a real opportunity to achieve peace,” the President said, while stressing that Egypt is prepared to exert all efforts necessary to resolve the long-standing conflict.

Egypt returned its Ambassador to Israel after three years of vacancy in January, with Ambassador Hazem Khairat taking the top position in Tel Aviv.

Egypt’s President Sisi has enjoyed a positive relationship with both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. In Gaza, Hamas has been attempting to thaw its relationship with Egypt after resistance following the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, who was strongly backed by Hamas.

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