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In Cairo, top Biden aide discusses Gaza reconstruction with Egypt’s Sissi

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is slated to meet with his Israeli counterpart in Washington next week after his Mideast trip

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, seated second right, meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and their delegations at the Foreign Ministry, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, seated second right, meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and their delegations at the Foreign Ministry, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo on Wednesday, with tensions between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip high on the agenda.

Sullivan, a top adviser to US President Joe Biden, arrived in Cairo on Wednesday after meetings in both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.

According to a statement from Sissi’s office, the meeting focused on regional tensions and the ties between Washington and Egypt. Sullivan and Sissi also discussed reconstruction efforts for the Gaza Strip, as well as maintaining the ceasefire brokered between Israel and Hamas following the 11-day conflict in May, according to the Egyptian presidency.

Earlier this week, the IDF conducted a series of raids on a Hamas cell in the West Bank, during which at at least five Palestinians were killed, four of them known members of terror groups, and two IDF soldiers were seriously injured.

Sissi’s office said the talks also addressed efforts to revive peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, as Egypt continues to play an important role as a mediator between Israel and Hamas amid rising tensions in recent weeks. Cairo has also been serving as a conduit for indirect talks between Israel and Hamas over a potential prisoner exchange.

Sullivan and Sissi also discussed the situation in Libya as well as a decade-long dispute over a massive dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the Nile River.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi meet on September 13, 2021, in Sharm el-Sheikh. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

After returning to the United States, Sullivan is slated to host Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata in Washington on Tuesday. Ahead of Sullivan’s trip to Cairo, the White House said his visit would include a discussion of “Egypt’s role in promoting security and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians following the visit by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to Egypt earlier this month.”

Talks with Haluta will also include “a meeting of the US-Israel Strategic Consultative Group,” said the White House. The joint task force is largely focused on coordinating efforts between Washington and Jerusalem to counter Iran and its nuclear program.

Bennett met with Sissi in Sharm el-Sheikh two weeks ago, marking the first public visit to Egypt by a sitting Israeli leader in more than a decade. Following his visit, Bennett said he had “an important and very good meeting” with the Egyptian leader, in which the two “laid the foundation for deep ties moving forward.”

But the Israeli prime minister has repeatedly ruled out the possibility of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks under his leadership. During his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, Bennett did not mention the Palestinians.

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