Egyptian Foreign Minister, Samih al-Shukri, met with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Israel on Sunday, amid efforts by Egypt to play a prominent role in supporting peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel.
The visit came two weeks after al-Shukri visited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
Al-Shukri’s meeting with Netanyahu is the first visit by an Egyptian foreign minister to the state of Israel since 2007, according to a statement published by Netanyahu on Sunday.
In a press conference prior to the meeting, Netanyahu called the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt one of “the cornerstones of stability in the region,” adding, “This is the only way we can address all the outstanding problems between us and turn the vision of peace based on two states for two peoples into a reality.”
“The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has raged on for more than half a century, claiming thousands of victims, and crushing the hopes and aspirations of millions of Palestinians to establish their independent state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as the aspirations of millions of Israelis to live in peace, security and stability,” al-Shukri said.
— Anwar Prince (@AnwarPrince14) May 11, 2016
Spokesperson for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement that the visit to Israel came in support of the ‘peace process’ at a crucial historical moment, amid calls by Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi to Palestinians and Israelis to work on achieving a just resolution to ensure the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
The meetings come after France’s special envoy for its peace initiative traveled to Ramallah on Saturday and met with both the Palestinian president and foreign minister to discuss preparations for an upcoming multilateral, international peace summit spearheaded by France.
This comes at a time that Egypt has kept strict regulations on the movement of Palestinians through its Rafah border, opening it for only a few days a time.