Netanyahu and al-Sissi hold first public meeting in New York



CAIRO, Nehal El-Sherif and Eliyahu Kamisher (dpa) – Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the Middle East peace process while the two leaders were in New York for the UN General Assembly.
It was their first public meeting since al-Sissi took office in 2014 and comes as Egypt leads reconciliation efforts between Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas.



The two discussed "efforts to resume negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis," a statement from the Egyptian presidency said.
The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that they met for around 90 minutes on Monday and spoke about regional issues, with al-Sissi saying he would support regional and Israeli-Palestinian peace processes.
Al-Sissi and Netanyahu met in a secret meeting in Jordan in January 2016, Haaretz reported in February. The summit, also attended by Jordanian King Abdullah and then-US secretary of state John Kerry, produced no results.
Al-Sissi also met separately with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York, where the two agreed to continue efforts to "heal the rift" between Palestinian factions.
Egypt has recently brokered a deal with the Palestinian Hamas group, which pledged key concessions on its control of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas said it was ready to hand over the Gaza Strip, which it has governed since 2007, to Abbas' government and hold general elections both in the enclave and the West Bank.
Hamas also promised to dissolve a disputed administrative committee in Gaza and invited Abbas' government to assume responsibility in the coastal enclave.
The group's announcement came after separate talks in Cairo between officials from Hamas and Abbas' Fatah party and Egyptian intelligence officials.
Previous attempts to reconcile Fatah and Hamas have fizzled out amid worsening living conditions in densely populated Gaza.
In 2014, the Israeli government halted peace negotiations, led by the United States, in response to a new unity government formed by Fatah and Hamas, which was dissolved shortly after.
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Tuesday, September 19th 2017
Nehal El-Sherif and Eliyahu Kamisher
           


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