CAIRO – Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met on Sunday with his visiting Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi over solidifying the recent Egypt-brokered cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip, the Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement.
The meeting is “part of Egypt’s relentless and continued efforts to revive the peace track and to build on the cease-fire in the Gaza strip”, said the ministry statement, without providing any further details.
The talks are also expected to address the necessary measures to facilitate the reconstruction of Gaza, for which Egypt has allocated 500 million US dollars.
Ashkenazi’s visit to Egypt comes 10 days after the cease-fire that ended the 11-day-long Israel-Hamas fighting, which left at least 248 Palestinians and 12 Israelis dead.
It is the first trip by an Israeli foreign minister to Egypt since 2008. On the other hand, Shoukry’s visit to Israel in 2016 was the first of its kind by an Egyptian foreign minister since 2007.
It is worth noting that Egypt sent a high-profile security delegation to Israel and Palestine on the same day for the same purposes.
Sent by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and led by Intelligence Minister Abbas Kamel, the Egyptian delegation will discuss ways to reach a comprehensive truce in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Egypt’s official MENA News agency reported.
Sisi stressed the importance of “taking all necessary measures to ensure prevention of re-escalation between Israel and Palestine”.
On Wednesday, Sisi met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Cairo, where the Egyptian president stressed the need for “direct negotiations” between Israelis and Palestinians to end their decades-long conflict.
Egypt, which supports the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the basis of the two-state solution, has had a US-sponsored peace treaty with Israel since 1979.