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Egypt's Foreign Minister to Meet Netanyahu in First Visit to Israel in Nine Years

Arriving on behalf of President Sissi, Sameh Shoukry is expected to discuss with the prime minister ways to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will arrive in Israel on Sunday afternoon for a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a senior official in Jerusalem confirmed. This is the first visit in Israel by an Egyptian foreign minister in nine years.
Two weeks ago Shoukry met Palestinian President Abbas in Ramallah.
Shoukry is visiting Jerusalem on behalf of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, who two months ago called on Israeli political parties to unite around advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace. Sissi also called on Arab states to back such an effort.
Sissi's remarks were part of a move led by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who serves as a personal advisor to Sissi. Blair tried to get both Netanyahu and Opposition leader Isaac Herzog behind a regional diplomatic initiative that would also entail the forming of a national unity government in Israel, which would include Herzog's Zionist Union.
The move failed to pan out after Netanyahu decided to turn down Zionist Union's demands concerning the peace process with the Palestinians during coalition negotiations. Instead, Netanyahu opted for the inclusion of Yisrael Beiteinu in the governing coalition and the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as defense minister.
Since the coalition was expanded, Netanyahu has several times said he was interested in advancing a regional diplomatic initiative. Netanyahu also brought this up in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome two weeks ago.
Netanyahu has also made it clear to Egypt, through diplomatic channels, that bringing Lieberman into the government did not lessen his commitment to Sissi's initiative and his desire to promote the move.

Barak Ravid
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.729893

Schermata 2016 07 10 alle 09.58.09