Political sources based in Tel Aviv revealed on Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had requested making an official visit to Cairo. The visit, expected in coming weeks, is centered on strengthening overall bilateral relations and economic ties.
Netanyahu will also seek to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
The Israeli prime minister, according to sources, does not want the thawing of relations with the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan to negatively impact Israel’s ties with Egypt. Netanyahu will seek to reassure Egyptian leadership that Tel Aviv’s new ties with the Arab world will not be at the expense of relations with Egypt.
The sources added that Netanyahu wants to discuss means for deepening relations between the two countries. Also, he wants to engage in Egyptian regional efforts.
More so, Netanyahu will review Egyptian-Jordanian-Palestinian contacts to advance the peace process and common positions on US policy.
A prominent Israeli advisor who is close to Netanyahu said that the prime minister is interested in establishing new foundations for improving relations with Palestinians.
After agreeing on those foundations, Sisi will mediate with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Additionally, Netanyahu is seeking to establish a united front in the Middle East with the aim of bettering cooperation with the US, underpinning the American pioneering role in the region, and reinforcing alliances with friends in the region.
Officials from both countries are currently in talks ahead of Netanyahu’s reported visit to Cairo in the coming weeks, Maariv daily reported.
In the future, a bilateral meeting is planned between the economic delegations of Israel and Egypt, where joint economic projects and the promotion of business relations between the two countries will be discussed, Maariv added.
Netanyahu has a history of meetings with Egyptian leaders. In 2010, he met then-president Hosni Mubarak. The two discussed attempts to open direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The visit took place in a tense atmosphere, following the call of then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman for a complete disengagement of Israel from the Gaza Strip.
Another visit to Cairo was planned by Netanyahu’s office in the winter of 2016, about two years after Sisi came to power. The visit was canceled by the Egyptians following statements by Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, according to whom Egypt flooded Hamas tunnels at Israel’s request.
In September 2017, Netanyahu and Sisi were scheduled for a brief meeting in New York.