Egypt's Foreign Minister Meets Israel's Lapid, Calls to 'Resolve Stalemate' With the Palestinians

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Yair Lapid's and Sameh_Shoukry's teams meet in Brussels, today.
Yair Lapid's and Sameh_Shoukry's teams meet in Brussels, today.Credit: Egypt MFA Spokesperson's twitter

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid in Brussels on Sunday for the first time since Israel's new cross-party coalition took office last month.

During the meeting, which lasted about an hour, the two leaders discussed a variety of security and political issues, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Lapid raised the issue of the Israeli citizens held captive in the Gaza Strip and bodies of Israeli soldiers also held there.

The two also talked about ways to strengthen Israel's security in the face of terrorism and discussed a number of options regarding humanitarian aid to the Strip.

Shoukry stressed "the need to resolve the current stalemate between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, leading to just and comprehensive peace negotiations," Egypt's Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Twitter.

Lapid is in Brussels for meetings on the sidelines of the European Union foreign ministers' summit. On Thursday, he met with Jordan's Ayman Safadi, in a sign of improved relations between Jordan and Israel's new government following years of strained ties under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last month, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi for the first time since taking office, where they discussed renewing diplomacy between the two neighboring nations, and the return of Israeli captives in Gaza.

After Sissi congratulated the prime minister on his election, the two leaders discussed a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues.

They both voiced praise for the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, achieved under U.S. mediation efforts four decades ago, which has functioned as a cornerstone of stability in the Middle East.

Bennett acknowledged Egypt's role in ensuring stability, security and peace in the region, while also mediating on the Palestinian issue. Bennett emphasized Israel's ongoing efforts to come to an agreement on the repatriation of the Israeli captives and the bodies of the Israeli soldiers.

Egypt has in recent years been trying to establish itself as a central player in mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas. Despite the "cold" peace and the difficulty in promoting mutual tourism projects, Egypt and Israel have maintained close ties over the years, namely in the fields of defense and intelligence.

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