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Egyptian FM reiterates necessity of two-state solution in rare Israel visit

Ahram Online , Sunday 10 Jul 2016
Sameh Shoukry
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) gives a joint statement with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry prior to their meeting at his Jerusalem office on July 10, 2016. (AFP)
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Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry, in a rare visit to Israel, said Sunday his country is still a "steadfast and unwavering" supporter of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  

"Achieving the vision of the two-state solution requires steps for building confidence, as well as a genuine will that does not waver under any circumstances," Shoukry said.

"Egypt is committed to supporting Israeli-Palestinian peace and is willing to provide all possible forms of assistance."

Shoukry, the first Egyptian foreign minister to visit Israel since 2007, spoke alongside Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, underlining that the two-state solution is supported by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and other state officials.

"My visit comes in the context of President El-Sisi's vision for establishing peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples – bringing this long conflict to an end," he stated.

"This will have a far-reaching and dramatic positive impact on conditions in the entire Middle East. Egypt is ready to contribute to achieving this goal.

"Ever since the cessation of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in 2014 the situation on the ground has been in constant deterioration on the humanitarian, economic and security levels. The dream of peace and security moves further out of reach as long as the conflict continues. It is no longer acceptable to continue the status quo."

For his part, Netanyahu heaped praise on the Egyptian authorities and El-Sisi, calling on Palestinians to follow in their footsteps.  

"I welcome President Sisi's recent offer of Egyptian leadership in efforts to advance peace with the Palestinians and broader peace in our region," he said.

"I call again on the Palestinians to follow the courageous example of Egypt and Jordan and join us for direct negotiations. This is the only way we can address all the outstanding issues between us and turn the vision of peace based on two states for two peoples into a reality."

Egypt is currently supporting the Paris peace initiative aimed at reviving negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.

The talks between Shoukry and Netanyahu during the visit will also tackle bilateral relations and regional developments.

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