Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said Thursday that the Arabs states are “ready for peace” and that US President Donald Trump’s bid to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations has a real shot of success if Israelis “seize the opportunity.”
Sissi, in an in-depth interview with the Egyptian daily al-Ahram, called Trump a “unique and very great person,” and said he is a “decisive figure” in bringing about a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The Palestinians are ready for peace. The Arabs are ready for peace. Israel sees that this provides an opportunity,” said Sissi.
He added: “There is indeed a chance, and if it is seized properly, we will reach a solution and the conflict will be history.”
The US president, who is due in Israel and the West Bank next week, has declared he intends to achieve the “ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians.
Trump and his confidants have been praised by Israelis and Palestinians for their ability “to listen,” but so far, the administration has presented no plan for reaching a solution to the century-old conflict.
Trump will not be stopping in Egypt during his visit to the region, but will meet with Sissi while attending the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Saudi Arabia on May 21, before heading to Israel.
“I say to… the Israeli people that you have a chance for peace. We all have a chance to live together and provide a better future for our people away from hatred,” Sissi said. “It is a mistake to miss this opportunity as we enter the Arab-Islamic-American Summit.”
Sissi was one of the first foreign leaders to visit the White House, in an April meeting that signaled an end to the lukewarm ties that characterized the relationship between Cairo and Washington since Sissi rose to power in 2013.
Sissi said that during his visit to Washington, the focus of the discussion was on “combating terrorism and solving the Palestinian issue.”
In his interview on Thursday, he expressed great confidence in Trump’s ability to get the job done, saying, “Whenever he takes on an issue, he won’t be satisfied without success.”
Back in April, Trump said of the Egyptian president, “ I just want to let everybody know that we are very much behind President Sissi. He has done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.”
— RHC (@RHCJO) May 17, 2017
Jordanian King Abdullah II met with Sissi in Cairo on Wednesday in a bid to hammer out a strategy ahead of Trump’s visit.
The two leaders have been influential mediators between the Palestinians and Washington.