Egypt keen to cooperate with US on reviving Israeli-Palestinian talks: Sisi to Biden

Ahram Online , Saturday 16 Jul 2022

Egypt is keen to cooperate with the United States to revive the Israeli-Palestinian talks, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told US President Joe Biden as they met in Saudi Arabia on Saturday and discussed a wide range of issues.

Sisi, Biden
US President Joe Biden (R) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) attend a bilateral meeting at a hotel in Saudi Arabia s Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on July 16, 2022. AFP


El-Sisi stressed Egypt’s unwavering stance toward the Palestinian cause, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.

The Egyptian president highlighted the importance of reaching a fair and comprehensive solution that guarantees the rights of the Palestinian people and the establishment of their independent state in accordance with international resolutions.

Biden expressed the US administration’s appreciation for the longstanding Egyptian efforts to establish peace in the region. He also hailed Egypt’s role in achieving calm between the Palestinian and Israeli sides and the Egyptian initiative for the reconstruction of Gaza.

El-Sisi and Biden held their first bilateral meeting as presidents in the Saudi city of Jeddah on the sidelines of their planned participation in the Jeddah Security and Development Summit scheduled for today.

The summit brings together the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and the US to discuss enhancing joint work to achieve stability in the region amid the current global challenges.

The summit has tackled cooperation in the fields of the economy, food security, and energy and also on regional and international challenges.

Food crisis, energy supply disruption

During their meeting, El-Sisi and Biden discussed boosting bilateral cooperation in many fields, especially amid disruptions to the global food and energy supply, the spokesman said.

As leaders also discussed regional issues, El-Sisi underscored Egypt’s unchangeable stance regarding the necessity of supporting crisis-hit states and strengthening their national institutions to end the suffering of their peoples and protect their resources.

Egypt and the US have been coordinating their stance on the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war, since it started in February.

In May, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the necessity of joint work to limit the impacts of the ongoing global crises on economic and living conditions worldwide.

They also agreed on the need for continuing coordination on the various files between Egypt and the US and working on enhancing these relations in light of the strategic ties binding the two countries.

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Discussions between El-Sisi and Biden also included the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, according to the spokesman.

El-Sisi underscored to Biden Egypt’s unwavering stance regarding the necessity of reaching a legally-binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam in a way that protects the Egyptian water security and achieves the joint interests of the three countries.

Egypt and Sudan have repeatedly warned against the impact of Ethiopia’s unilateral acts on their water rights and peoples’ interests unless a legally binding deal on the filling and operation of the dam is reached.

The downstream countries have reaffirmed on multiple occasions that they are not against development in Ethiopia but insisted that this development should not endanger their water rights.

Egypt and Sudan have called for involving international partners, including the US, in the AU-led negotiations process.

The US has affirmed readiness to provide political and technical support to the three countries by urging all parties to come to the table and resume dialogue with the help of observers from the US and the European Union.

However, a 2019 US effort during the Trump administration to mediate in negotiations between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia failed.

In February of that year, Ethiopia pulled out of a final meeting between the three sides that was sponsored by the US in Washington DC to resolve the dispute, refusing to sign any binding documents.

In May 2021, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during a visit to Cairo the US commitment to exerting efforts to reach an agreement that preserves the water and development rights of all parties. 

Enhancing relations, intensifying consultations

For his part, Biden welcomed his first meeting with El-Sisi, affirming his administration’s willingness to activate the frameworks of bilateral cooperation between Egypt and the US during the coming period, the spokesman said.

The administration is also keen on developing the ongoing strategic coordination and consultation with Egypt.

This comes especially in light of the pivotal Egyptian role in the Middle East region under the wise leadership of El-Sisi, which represents a main pillar for safeguarding peace and security and spreading peace in the entire region, the spokesman said.

El-Sisi stressed Egypt’s keenness to endorse the distinguished relations with the US, underscoring the important role of this partnership in enhancing peace and stability in the Middle East region.

The president also affirmed Egypt’s aspiration for further coordination and consultations with the US on various regional issues.

The meeting between Biden and El-Sisi comes while Cairo and Washington are celebrating the centennial of their diplomatic ties this year.

Egypt and the US held last year in November their first bilateral strategic dialogue since 2015, where they agreed on deepening their partnership in various fields, including human rights, defence and security.

Last year, El-Sisi and Biden communicated two times via phone in May, where they discussed developments in Palestine, Libya and the GERD.

Egypt and the US also worked on boosting their economic relations and trade exchange over the past year.

Trade volume between Egypt and the US amounted to $9.1 billion in 2021, making the US Egypt's second-largest trading partner after China, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt.

This represents a leap in trade volume from $6.9 billion in 2020, according to AmCham.

Egypt also accounted for five percent of the Middle East and North Africa exports to the US last year and nine percent of the region’s imports from the US.

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