Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday met with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in New York in the first-ever public sit-down between the two leaders. Netanyahu and al-Sisi were in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
Times of Israel The two leaders had “a comprehensive discussion about the problems of the region,” according to a readout provided by the Prime Minister’s Office. al-Sisi “expressed his desire to assist in efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians and the region,” it said.
The hour-and-a-half-long meeting took place at the Palace Hotel, where the Egyptian president was staying. “It’s a great pleasure to have this meeting with you,” al-Sisi told Netanyahu at the start of the meeting, speaking through a translator.
Netanyahu was known to have met with al-Sisi in February 2016, when the two attended a secret summit in Aqaba with former US secretary of state John Kerry and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
Since they established diplomatic relations in 1978 after years of hostility and a series of wars, ties between Israel and Egypt have historically been civil but frosty. However, the two countries have enjoyed closer intelligence and security ties in recent years over their shared enmity towards Islamist terror groups and other common regional concerns.
That covert meeting was part of a push to renew negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and seek recognition of Israel as a Jewish state by Arab countries, the Haaretz daily reported in February. He again met al-Sisi in Cairo in April 2016, the newspaper reported.