Foreign Minister of Egypt in Rare Israel Visit

The foreign minister of Egypt will have meetings with Benjamin Netanyahu the Prime Minister of Israel on Sunday in a rare visit by an Egyptian Foreign Minister to Israel that is aimed at bringing back to life the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The visit by Sameh Shoukry to Israel, which is the first by a foreign minister in Egypt in the past nine years, comes after a similar meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian officials on June 29.

The visit comes as France is leading a new push to revive the peace efforts. The initiative by the French seeks to bring each side to the table by the end of 2016 and was welcomed by Palestinians when he went to speak to them.

However, officials in Israel have said that only direct talks will end the conflict that has gone on for decades.

The foreign ministry in Egypt said that the visit by Shoukry was part of Cairo’s push to increase confidence between Palestinians and Israelis with the aim in the end to resume direct talks and reach a settlement that gives the Palestinians a new state and more security for Israel.

The Egyptian statement said the foreign minister would have extensive meetings during the visit, with Netanyahu’s meeting addressing many things including the issue of the Palestinians.

Netanyahu announced that the foreign minister of Egypt was visiting in his public remarks Sunday at a weekly cabinet meeting. He added that he would hold two meetings with Shoukry.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt called in advance about the visit of his foreign minister in an attempt to advance any peace process with Palestinians as well as other Arab countries.

Sisi called upon the Israelis and Palestinians back in May to seize the current opportunity to come up with an historic peace accord offering Israel the prospect of better ties should the country reach just peace with the Palestinians.

Egypt was just the first of a number of Arab countries that recognized Israel with a peace accord sponsored by the U.S. back in 1979.

However, the attitudes of Egyptians to one of their neighbors remain icy cold because of what a number of Arabs look at as continued occupations by Israel of land meant to form a legitimate Palestinian state.

In 2002, Sisi offered an Arab peace initiative as a possible way to move ahead. That initiative offered complete recognition of Israel but only if the country gave up all the land seized during the Middle East war of 1967.

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