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Egypt FM meets Netanyahu in rare visit to Israel

Shoukry's trip to Israel comes after he visited the West Bank city of Ramallah [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 July, 2016

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Egypt's foreign minister met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a bid to revive peace efforts with Palestinians, on the first such visit to Israel in nearly a decade.
Egypt's foreign minister met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a bid to revive peace efforts with Palestinians, on the first such visit to Israel in nearly a decade.

Sameh Shoukry held "lengthy talks" with Netanyahu on Sunday about reviving an Arab peace initiative with Palestinians, in the latest sign of warming ties between the two countries.

"The visit comes at an important time as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called on both Israelis and Palestinians to find a comprehensive and just solution to the Palestinian cause," an Egyptian foreign ministry statement said.

It added that peace initiative aimed to "establish an independent Palestinian state and secure peace and stability for Israel".

Shoukry's trip to Israel comes after he visited the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 29 for talks with Palestinian leaders.

Netanyahu confirmed the visit at the start of a cabinet meeting on Sunday and said the last such trip by an Egyptian foreign minister was in 2007.

"This visit is important for several reasons," said Netanyahu.

     
      Netanyahu concluded a tour of Africa this week [Getty]

"It reflects the change in relations between Israel and Egypt, including President Sisi's important call to advance the peace process with the Palestinians and with Arab countries," he added.

Israel has recently emerged as a close ally to Sisi after decades of wars followed by years of uneasy peace.

Israel has praised Sisi for his tough stance on Islamic extremists and saluted "unprecedented" intelligence cooperation with Egypt to combat the Islamic State group in Sinai.

A diplomatic source told The New Arab that another objective of the visit is to discuss Israeli mediation between Egypt and Ethiopia on the Renaissance Dam.

Egypt has repeatedly expressed concerns that Ethiopia's $4.2 billion dam will affect its share of Nile water resources.

Netanyahu concluded a tour of Africa this week, hoping to further the country's influence in the continent.

Ethiopia now looks set to back Israel in its bid to obtain "observer status" at the African Union.

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