Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi told a delegation from an umbrella group of US Jewish groups that reaching an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of his top priorities.
Meeting in Cairo, Sissi told representatives from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that reaching a peace deal would remove a main impetus behind terror attacks.
Sunday’s meeting came as an Israeli media report detailed a secret summit between Sissi, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jordan’s King Abdullah and US secretary of state John Kerry last year aimed at cobbling together a regional peace initiative.
Sissi, who also met with the Jewish group last year shortly before the secret summit, said Sunday that a regional peace would bring a new reality, enabling cultural and economic development for countries in the area.
Sunday’s meeting with the Jewish leaders was aimed at improving ties between the US and Egypt, according to a statement from the Egyptian Presidency, The Daily News Egypt website reported.
The conference kicked off a four-day mission to Israel later Sunday with a gala dinner in Jerusalem, after some delegates visited Morocco and Egypt.
Speaking at the opening, President Reuven Rivlin alluded to concerns in the Jewish community since the election of Donald Trump as US president.
“We are meeting at a very sensitive time — both in Israel, and in the USA, our greatest, and most important ally,” Rivlin said, according to a statement from his office. “It is also, a very sensitive time for the Jewish community, which you represent.”
Meeting with Trump in Washington last week, Netanyahu said he would pursue a regional peace initiative with the new president’s backing. He also downplayed concerns of a rise in anti-Semitism since Trump was elected.