Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to visit Egypt for talks with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi at the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea
CAIRO – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will travel to Egypt on Monday for talks with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi at the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea, the presidential office said Egyptian.
There was no immediate confirmation of the meeting from the Israeli government.
It would be the first official visit by an Israeli prime minister since 2010, when then-President Hosni Mubarak hosted a summit with Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Less than a year later, Egypt was rocked by a popular uprising that overthrew Mubarak.
Bennett and the Egyptian president are expected to discuss bilateral ties, efforts to revive the peace process as well as other regional and international developments, a statement released by el-Sisi’s office said.
For nearly a decade, Israeli officials held secret meetings with their Arab counterparts, some of which were not announced until after the fact. Egypt became in 1979 the first Arab country to conclude a peace agreement with Israel.
The meeting will be a boost for Bennett, the new Israeli prime minister who took office in June and is still trying to establish his foreign policy benchmarks. His predecessor, Netanyahu, introduced himself as a global statesman but was never able to hold a public meeting with the Egyptian president.
The tense situation in the Gaza Strip will likely be high on Monday’s agenda.
Israel, with the help of Egypt, has maintained a strict blockade on Gaza since the Palestinian militant group Hamas invaded the territory in 2007 in an attempt to prevent it from importing weapons. Israel and Hamas have fought four wars, the most recent in May, and Egypt often mediates between the two enemies. In the last war, he successfully negotiated a ceasefire that largely ended the fighting.