‘Important interest for Israel’: FM Lapid meets with Egypt’s president El-Sisi in Cairo

December 10, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi hosted Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid on Thursday at the Al-Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo for what was described by the Lapid’s office as “a long and warm meeting.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and (Shlomi Amsalem/MFA)

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, Head of the General Intelligence Service Abbas Kamel, Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alon Ushpiz, and Israel’s Ambassador to Cairo Amira Oron were also present.

The two discussed a number of key issues, including Iran’s attempts to become a country with a military nuclear capability and its continued use of terrorism, and the threat this poses to the Middle East, in general, and to Israel and Egypt more specifically.

Egypt, the centre of Sunni Islam, has often experienced tensions and regional rivalry tensions with Shiite Iran.

The two also touched on the situation in the Gaza Strip. Lapid presented El-Sisi with his “Economy for Security” plan, which calls for an economic boost for the Strip in exchange for a ceasefire with Israel, and addressed the issue of the two Israeli captive civilians and the missing bodies of two IDF soldiers held by Hamas in Gaza.

Lapid expressed his appreciation for “the important and central role that Egypt plays in this area.” Egypt is a key player in mediating between Hamas and Israel.

They also related to the Palestinian issue and “the steps Israel is taking to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and assist towards finding solutions for economic challenges.”

Finally, they underscored the “desire to deepen the peace” between the two countries “in the civilian fields of economics, energy, agriculture, and trade.”

El-Sisi “affirmed that Egypt would pursue its efforts to achieve a comprehensive and just peace in the Middle East on the basis of the two-state solution and the terms of reference of international legitimacy, in a way that achieves security and stability and advances prospects for cooperation and development for all the peoples of the region.”

He further “highlighted Egypt’s reconstruction efforts in Gaza, adding that Egypt would continue its efforts to prevent the flare-up of tension between the Palestinians and Israelis.”

Lapid stated at the end of the meeting that “Egypt is an especially important strategic partner for Israel. My goal is to strengthen our security, diplomatic, and economic relations with Egypt. It’s important to continue to work on the peace between our two nations.”

He thanked El-Sisi, “whose contribution to the region and the relations between us is of historic proportions, for his hospitality and for a warm and open meeting.”

Before his meeting with El-Sisi, Lapid was welcomed at the airport in Cairo by the Egyptian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nabil Habashi.

As “a gesture to strengthen relations,” Lapid returned 95 Egyptian archaeological items that were seized by the authorities in Israel.

“From a political-security perspective, the strengthening of Israel-Egypt relations is a very important interest for the State of Israel. The Minister’s visit is a direct continuation of the Israeli government’s foreign policy to use common interests as leverage for regional stability,” the Foreign Ministry stated.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met in September with El-Sisi in Sharm el-Sheikh. Before that, Lapid and Bennett met in August in Jerusalem with Egyptian Intelligence Minister Kamel.

Israel’s ties with Egypt are cordial and solid and focus primarily on security and diplomatic issues. The ties never blossomed into a warmer peace. Egypt under El-Sissi’s leadership has fostered a closer relationship with the Jewish state.

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