For First Time in Decade, Netanyahu to Make Official Visit to Egypt

YERUSHALAYIM -
Netanyahu Sisi
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L.) meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R.) in New York, in 2017. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to depart for a state visit to Egypt in the coming days at the request of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, officials in Cairo confirmed to Yisrael Hayom. The official visit will be the first by an Israeli prime minister to the country in over 10 years. There were reports of an upcoming visit last month, and now it has been confirmed.

Netanyahu is expected to discuss a series of regional issues with the Egyptian leader, chief among them bolstering security and diplomatic ties in light of the Iranian threat, and coordinating positions between Yerushalayim and Cairo ahead of Joe Biden’s entry into the White House.

Netanyahu and el-Sissi are also expected to discuss the possibility of renewing talks between Israel and the Palestinians as well as efforts by mediators in the Egyptian intelligence services to achieve a deal for the Gaza Strip.

The Egyptians said the government was concerned a Biden administration would be hostile to Cairo and that it would sign onto a new nuclear deal with Iran that would undermine regional stability. The officials further said that Cairo placed great importance on the Abraham Accords as well as the regional alliance being forged between Israel and other moderate Sunni Arab states and Sudan.

A senior Egyptian Foreign Ministry official told Yisrael Hayom that should the Egyptian and Israeli leaders meet, the expectation was that Netanyahu would receive an official state welcome.

“If Netanyahu’s planned visit to Egypt does take place, President el-Sissi will greet him at the airport with Egyptian and Israeli flags waving alongside one another,” he said.

According to the officials, the two leaders were set to meet in either Cairo or Sharm El-Sheikh.