On rare Israel visit, Egyptian FM calls for 2-state solution

Sameh Shoukry made the remarks as he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a rare visit to Israel, aimed at reviving the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday the importance of the visit, indicating the warming relations between the two countries, and reiterated his support by comments made by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in May about the importance of renewing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Diplomatic sources in Egypt told the Palestinian news agency Ma'an that advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process will be at the top of the agenda at the meeting.

Netanyahu vehemently rejected a French-sponsored Middle East peace initiative launched in June as an undesired intervention.

He also called on Palestinians to engage in direct negotiations, as he has repeatedly done in the past.

One indication of Israel's increased acceptance, Netanyahu said, was a phone call he had on the trip with the leader of an unnamed Muslim country, during which they agreed to meet. Israel has allowed Egypt to deploy troops exceeding the numbers stipulated by the peace agreement and has carried out raids targeting militants active on Egyptian soil, according to local press reports. "This is the only way we can address all the outstanding problems between us, and turn the vision of peace based on two states for two peoples into a reality".

"The situation of the Middle East is becoming ever more volatile and risky, particularly as the phenomena of terrorism continues to grow and proliferate, representing an existential threat to the peoples of the region and the world at large", he said.

Mr Shoukry met the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank on 29 June.

The Hebron area settlers have been affected by the recent wave of violence that has rocked Israel and the Palestinian territories since last October. Two officials said Sunday's decision was separate.

Mr Morsi was ousted in July 2013 by then army chief Mr Sisi, who was elected Egypt's president in 2014.

Israeli and Palestinian officials have said they believe Mr. Sisi can act as an honest broker, as security cooperation between Egypt and Israel is at a high point and Mr. Sisi has indicated he is committed to establishing a Palestinian state. Instead, Netanyahu opted for the inclusion of Yisrael Beiteinu in the governing coalition and the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as defense minister. The Arab League has said the terms can not be changed.

At least 214 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese have been killed. Netanyahu and other leaders on the Israeli right have insisted Israeli soldiers remain in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank to foil any attack on Israel from the east. Israel, in general, has demanded tighter security measures from the PA.

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