Amid a stalled peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry said that his visit to Israel comes within the framework of Egypt achieving peace for itself and others in the region, in particular the Palestinian people.
During a press conference with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Shoukry said the peace talks and the situation on the ground are in constant deterioration, adding that Palestinians are suffering from the current situation which must not go on any longer.
The last visit of an Egyptian foreign minister was in 2007, when Ahmed Aboul Gheit was also discussing the peace process with the Israelis.
According to the foreign minister, a two-state solution remains possible but it requires serious intent to implement it.
Netanyahu told Shoukry that he welcomes the Egyptian president’s initiative to revive the peace process.
Shoukry headed to Israel on Sunday in order to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, bilateral relations, and regional issues.
The ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zaid said earlier that Shoukry will hold extensive discussions with Netanyahu. The ministry says the visit is important and comes at an important time “following the call by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi for reaching an inclusive and just resolution for the Palestinian issue”.
Solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will make the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel “warmer”, Al-Sisi said in May, adding that Egypt is ready to mediate to end the conflict.
“If we are able to solve the issue of our Palestinian brothers it will achieve warmer peace … I ask that the Israeli leadership allow this speech to be broadcast in Hebrew one or two times as this is a genuine opportunity,” Al-Sisi said.
Shoukry will also focus on ways to activate the international resolutions and previous agreements to build trust between the Israelis and the Palestinians as a step towards reviving the peace talks.
Shoukry was in Ramallah last month to discuss the peace process with Palestinian leaders.
He also participated in the ministerial meeting in Paris in early June, which aimed to bring the Israelis and the Palestinians into negotiations based on a French initiative.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that he will meet Shoukry twice on Sunday.
“Today’s visit is important from many points of view. It teaches about the change that has come over Israel-Egypt relations, including President Al-Sisi’s important call to advance the peace process with both the Palestinians and Arab countries. The Egyptian Foreign Minister is coming on behalf of the President of Egypt; we welcome him,” said Netanyahu.
Non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council and expert on security issues in the Middle East, Zack Gold, told Daily News Egypt that he expects both of them to discuss the Palestinian issue in addition to other bilateral issues such as trade and agricultural exchanges.
“They’re also likely to talk about Israel’s reconciliation with Turkey, Netanyahu’s recent swing through Africa, and the issue of Gaza,” Gold said.
Netanyahu also thanked attorney Yitzhak Molcho “who has greatly contributed to realising this visit”.
According to Netanyahu’s statement, Yitzhak Molcho played a role in organising this visit.
Molcho is an Israeli attorney who served as an advisor for Netanyahu. He was the key negotiator on the behalf of Netanyahu in several issues with Egypt including the gas agreements in 2011 and the exchange of Israeli spies captured in Egypt.
Following Al-Sisi’s declarations in May, Netanyahu expressed a willingness to participate in peace talks with the Palestinians and any other Arab country that can take part in the negotiations.
France tried to bring both sides to negotiations table, but the Israeli leaders refused to engage with any international parties in the process.
The Israeli prime minister said back then that he could consider the Arab peace initiative introduced in 2002 before saying that it would require amendments.