Wed, 27 Oct 2021

JERUSALEM, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he had laid foundations for "strong ties" in meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Monday in Egypt's Sinai.

In the afternoon, the two leaders met in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for talks, marking the first official visit to Egypt by an Israeli leader for a decade.

In a statement issued by his office ahead of his departure back to Israel, Bennett said the meeting was "important and very good."

The two discussed "ways to deepen and strengthen cooperation between countries, with an emphasis on expanding the scope of mutual trade, as well as a wide range of regional and international issues," according to Bennett's office.

"We discussed a range of issues in the fields of politics, security, economy, and ways to deepen the relations and strengthen the interests of our countries," the prime minister said.

Bennett said that Egypt plays "a significant role" in maintaining stability in the Gaza Strip.

In a reference to a series of normalization deals that Israel signed in 2020 with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, Bennett said that Israel was "opening up to the countries of the region, and the basis for this recognition is the peace accord between Israel and Egypt."

He said that both Israel and Egypt should "invest in strengthening this relationship, and we did that today."

According to a statement issued by Sisi's office before the meeting, the talk would focus on various bilateral issues, including ways and efforts to revive the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Bennett, who succeeded Benjamin Netanyahu in June, accepted an invitation in August to visit Egypt.

Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1977.

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