Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in New York Monday night that he thought an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord would create a new reality in the region, strengthening stability and security throughout the Middle East.
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The two leaders met for the first time in public since Sissi took office, their meeting at the Aqaba summit as in January 2016 having been a secret attempt to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
A statement from the Egyptian Embassy in Washington said that Sissi and Netanyahu discussed ways to renew the peace process. The president stressed that he attached particular importance to renewing talks between the sides with reaching a two-state solution as the goal.
Also in 2016, Sissi met with both Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog at the presidential palace in Cairo, but that, too, was a secret meeting. Its goal was to examine whether Herzog’s Zionist Union party could be brought into the government in order to help advance the peace process. But once again, the meeting was unsuccessful.
Sissi also met in New York with a group of American Jewish leaders to discuss the Trump administration's efforts to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal on Monday morning. According to two participants in the meeting, the Egyptian president sounded optimistic about Trump’s efforts and said that Egypt was interested in helping him. Sissi said the best way to advance the peace process was through a regional approach involving the Arab states.
This is the second time in the last few months that al-Sissi has met with a group of American Jewish leaders. At the previous meeting, which took place during the Egyptian president’s visit to Washington in May, Sissi said he favors convening a regional peace conference under Trump’s auspices.
Netanyahu met with U.S. President Donald Trump earlier on Monday. Trump told Netanyahu that he wants to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and that he still believes doing so is possible.