Egypt's Sisi meets Israeli PM at United Nations for first public talks

Posted September 22, 2017

It was the first time Sisi and Netanyahu have held public talks. According to two participants in the meeting, the Egyptian President sounded optimistic and said Egypt was interested in helping.

Egyptian officials said president El Sisi saw the 9pm meeting with Mr Netanyahu as an opportunity to discuss the resumption of the overall peace process.

Mr El Sisi met earlier in the day with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to discuss reconciliation negotiations with Hamas and the prospect of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority resuming its involvement in Gaza in place of the militant group's administration committee.

Egypt is seen as a key partner in the Middle East, with influence over crises in Libya, Israel and the Palestinians, and the broader region.

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The Egyptian leader made a similar appeal to Israelis, saying that decades of Israeli-Egyptian peace could be expanded to the Palestinians to "overcome the barrier of hatred forever".

Although Monday was the first time the two men had met in public, they had previously been involved in secret talks together.

Sisi applauded efforts exerted by the United Nations chief since he took the office, presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef reported.

At the start of their meeting, Mr Trump was keen to stress that achieving Middle East peace was a priority for his administration.

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"What's happening now with the Arab bloc states has never before happened in our history - even when we signed agreements", Netanyahu said, as reported by Israel's Channel 2.

Official presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said that the two officials discussed ways to revive the peace process, with Sisi underlining the role Egypt is playing in resuming negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis in order to reach a fair and comprehensive settlement to their conflict.

Sisi has been praised by many supporters of the Jewish state, who view him as an important ally in maintaining Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel, fighting Islamic terrorism, and confronting Iran.

In fact, it was el-Sisi's second meeting in recent months with a forum of Jewish-American leaders.

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