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Egypt's Sisi reiterates peace call to Israelis for two-state solution at UNGA

El-Sisi spoke about conflicts throughout the Middle East and North Africa region including between Israel and Palestine as well as in Syria, Yemen and Libya

Ahram Online , Wednesday 21 Sep 2016
El-Sisi at UNGA
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. September 20, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)
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In a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) speech, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi reiterated for second time since May a call for the Israeli people and leadership to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians that would put an end to the ongoing conflict.

"We have a real chance to write a bright page in the history of the region for a move towards peace," El-Sisi said, asking the audience in the UNGA to permit him to deviate from his written speech to address the Israelis.

He added that Egypt was exerting efforts to push the peace process forward in order to reach a final solution for a constant and fair peace through the two-state solution.

Earlier in September Russia confirmed news reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed in principle to meet in Moscow. If the meeting does take place it would mark the first face to face talks between the two leaders in years.

It remains unclear whether Egypt would be a side in the talks and the date of the potential talks remains unknown.

"We welcome the efforts for a real desire to improve the situation in Palestinian lands,” El-Sisi said.

“In light of the conditions that the Palestinians face, their situation should be solved through ending the occupation and the retrieving of the peoples’ rights,” El-Sisi continued.

“This should be achieved through a peace deal in accordance with legitimate international agreements that guarantee the right of Palestinians in their state and accomplishes for Israel security and normal relations in the region, " El-Sisi said. 

In May, El-Sisi addressed the Israelis and Palestinians, saying that peace, prosperity and cooperation would only be possible if both parties are able to reach a two-state solution.

He recalled Egypt's experience before and after the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and highlighted that 40 years ago no one at the time thought that such a positive "jump in relations" could be established.

On Tuesday, he set the Egyptian experience as an example, describing it as a "one of a kind experience that could be repeated with a two state solution in order to establish a Palestinian state next to the Israeli one and would secure stability and security for Palestinians and Israelis."

In July, Sameh Shoukry was the first Egyptian foreign minister to visit Israel since 2007. On his trip he underlined to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the two-state solution is supported by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and other state officials.

Shoukry stressed that El-Sisi's vision to establish peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples would bring the long conflict to an end.

Rising Middle East conflicts

El-Sisi also shed light on the conflicts in the Middle East, as well as Egyptian affairs, in an extended speech in front of the UNGA.

"Egypt was still able to maintain its stability during the regional instability due to the consistency of its apparatuses and the Egyptian people's awareness.

This is something that the international community should take into consideration and support the country for the benefit of the region and the whole world so that Egypt remains the main pillar for the Middle East's stability," El-Sisi said.

He recalled Egypt's adoption of the 2014 constitution and an elected parliament that has an unprecedented amount of youth and women represented.

El-Sisi also talked about Syria, saying that the bloodshed there and the absence of a political horizon was a situation that is "no longer acceptable."

"The solution is clear: A complete and comprehensive halt of all hostilities in all of Syria that would contribute to a political solution and prevent bloodshed while also protecting Syrian unity, safety and accomplish the will of the Syrian people as well as stopping chaos that only leads to the spread of terrorism," El-Sisi said.

Egypt has hosted half a million Syrians who are being treated like citizens when it comes to health care, education, and housing, according to El-Sisi.

He hailed the ceasefire that was reached following efforts from Russia and the US, adding that Egypt was hoping for a fast international response to resume talks in the closest possible time so a solution can be reached.

On Monday, the Syrian military announced the agreed ceasefire deal was over amid numerous violations including an aid convoy attack, and the launching of air bombardments on rebel controlled cities.

The United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura has said that there was still hope of reviving the ceasefire but admitted that delegates agreed it was in danger.

Libya

On Libya, El-Sisi said that the war-stricken country lives in a critical and wide political crisis, even after the El-Skhirat agreement.

He said that Egypt was playing a role in an attempt to bring Libya's political factions together, while adding that it supports applying the agreement as a solution to restore the unity of the Libyan state. El-Sisi said that it would have to be done through the state’s legitimate institutions -- the presidential council, the government of national accord (GNA), parliament, and the army.

He added that Egypt was hosting meetings for the Libyans to help in executing the agreement so a GNA representing all Libyans would be formed, ratified by the Libyan parliament so it would focus on the reconstruction.

El-Sisi stressed on the importance of lifting arm bans to the Libyan army so that it could combat terrorism.

"There is no place for terrorism and militias in Libya," El-Sisi said.

He has repeatedly expressed his support for Libya, while stating that Egypt would not intervene militarily in turmoil-stricken country, describing it as a "sovereign state.”

In an August interview, El-Sisi said Egypt supported Libya’s national army as well its elected parliament because they represented the will of the Libyan people.

Yemen

El-Sisi said that Egypt spares no efforts in supporting the unity of Yemeni and regional safety, as well as the return of its "legitimate" exiled government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who is fighting the Houthis, a rebel group that controls much of the country’s north.

"We support the efforts of the UN's Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Checkh for a political solution to the crisis -- a solution that was approved by the legitimate government for the country's benefit," El-Sisi said.

The U.N. envoy aims to revive frozen negotiations through a repeat of peace talks and an agreement on a new truce to stop the fighting that has shook Yemen for eighteen months.

He stressed on the necessity of continued negotiations, calling on Yemeni factions to announce their commitment to the UN envoy’s plan to reach a solution that stipulates a general reconciliation in Yemen in accordance with the UN's Security Council decisions.

He announced that Egypt would continue assisting "Yemeni brothers," as well as continuing to secure the Bab El-Mandab strait.

Since March 2015, Egypt has been participating in the Saudi-led coalition which has waged an air campaign aiming to regain cities under the control of the Houthis.

"Most of MENA's conflicts are a reflection of international conflicts. I affirm Egypt's refusal of foreign interference in Arab domestic affairs. I confirm Egypt's solidarity with Arabs states against any attempts at foreign interference in light of the connection of Arab national security from the Gulf to Egypt," El-Sisi said.

 

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