Egypt president says he’s ‘serious’ about peace push

Egypt president says he’s ‘serious’ about peace push

In live televised speech, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says he wants to ‘break deadlock’ on negotiations between Israelis, Palestinians

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo on April 17, 2016 (AFP/Khaled Desouki)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo on April 17, 2016 (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said Thursday his country was serious about pushing forward peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Egypt’s recent serious effort aims to break the deadlock that has hung over peace efforts,” he said in a speech broadcast live on state TV.

“It is a sincere effort to make everyone face their responsibilities and warn of the consequences of delays in achieving peace,” he said.

His remarks followed a trip by Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to Israel earlier this month, the first such visit in nine years.

Sissi said in May that Egypt was willing to take part in peace talks, saying there was a “real opportunity” for an Israeli-Palestinian deal that could lead to warmer ties between his country and Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met Shoukry during his visit, welcomed Sissi’s offer.

Shoukry also met Palestinian leaders in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in April 2014.

In 1979, Egypt was the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel after years of conflict. It remains an influential player in the region.

In June, representatives from 28 Arab and Western countries, the Arab League, European Union and the United Nations met in Paris to discuss ways push peace efforts forward.

Neither Israeli nor Palestinian representatives were invited to attend the meeting, which aimed to prepare for a peace conference by the end of the year.

The Palestinians have welcomed the French bid but Israel strongly opposes the initiative.

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