Netanyahu Meets al-Sisi for First Time in Public Forum

Netanyahu Sisi
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L) meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) in New York, on Monday. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

In a busy diplomatic day Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with world leaders on the eve of his United Nations General Assembly speech Tuesday – among them Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the first time the two have met in a public manner. Netanyahu and al-Sisi are reported to have met several times in the past, usually on the sidelines of international forums, and are known to speak regularly on the phone, but this is the first time the governments of Israel and Egypt have acknowledged a meeting between the two.

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said that the two met for about an hour and a half at al-Sisi’s hotel. The leaders “conducted a wide-ranging discussion on the issues that affect the region,” and that the Egyptian head of state “expressed willingness to provide assistance in the efforts to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians in the region.” According to sources quoted in Israeli media, several other Egyptian officials participated in the meeting, including Foreign Minister Samah Shukry, Intelligence chief Khaled Fauzi, and Abbas Camel, the director of al-Sisi’s office.

Several hours before meeting Netanyahu, al-Sisi met with Malcolm Hoenlein, a top official of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Channel 10 reported that that meeting went well. Hoenlein is known to have a long personal relationship with al-Sisi. In photos of the meeting between Netanyahu and al-Sisi, the two are seen smiling and laughing.

In a statement after the meeting, Egyptian spokesperson Alla Yussef said that Netanyahu and al-Sisi had discussed ways to revive negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The objective is “to reach a just solution based on the principle of the two-state solution and international decisions.”

Besides meeting al-Sisi – as well as U.S. President Donald Trump – Netanyahu met Monday with Japanese premier Shinzo Abe, with whom he discussed expanding economic collaboration, as well as collaboration on cybersecurity issues. Abe invited Netanyahu to visit him in Tokyo, Channel Ten reported. Netanyahu also met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, as well as Panamanian President Juan Carlos Valera.