By: Tzvi Lev
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in his first visit to Israel since 2007.
In a joint press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu at Ben-Gurion Airport, Foreign Minister Shoukry spoke favorably of the two-state solution as a way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“This visit comes in the context of President al-Sisi’s vision, which he elaborated on the 17thof May, for the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people, bringing this long conflict to an end. Such a monumental achievement will have a far reaching and dramatic and positive impact on the overall conditions in the Middle East region,” he told Netanyahu.
Shoukry visited Ramallah in June to deliver the same message to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. During the press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu, he said, “Today I am in Israel to continue this dialogue.”
“I welcome President al-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 his remarks he went on to praise the 1979 peace agreement between Israel and Egypt and describe it as “a cornerstone of stability in the region.”
Netanyahu and Shoukry also discussed Hamas, the fight against Islamic State, and coordination in the effort to recover debris from EgyptAir Flight 804, which crashed into the Mediterranean Sea last May under mysterious circumstances.
Shoukry emphasized the need for the two-state solution. “The goal that we aim to achieve through negotiations between the two parties is one that is based on justice, legitimate rights and mutual willingness to coexist peacefully in two neighboring independent states in peace and security.” he said. “However, achieving this vision requires serious steps to build confidence as well as a genuine will that does not waver of wane under any circumstance”
Shoukry’s visit to Israel is part of an increased effort by Egypt to mediate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Michael Zeff contributed to this report.