Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Egyptian FM Calls for 2-State Solution

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Egyptian FM Calls for 2-State Solution

Article excerpt

JERUSALEM - Egypt's foreign minister paid a rare visit to Israel on Sunday, saying that his country remains a "steadfast and unwavering" supporter of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians but warning that conditions for achieving that are deteriorating. Sameh Shoukry's trip was the first official visit to Israel since 2007 and reflected the strong but low-profile ties that have developed between the two countries in recent years. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Shoukry's visit was aimed at reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Peace efforts have made no headway since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office in 2009. The last round of U.S.-led talks broke down two years ago after the sides could not agree on the contours of a future peace deal.

The Palestinians seek the establishment of an independent state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip - lands captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. Netanyahu has endorsed the idea of an independent Palestinian state, but he opposes a return to Israel's pre-1967 borders and has continued to build Jewish settlements on occupied lands.

Speaking at a news conference with Netanyahu, Shoukry said "the vision of the two-state solution is not far-fetched but rather required "steps to build confidence.

He warned that worsening conditions for Palestinians threatened to undermine prospects for peace. "The plight of the Palestinian people becomes more arduous every day, Shoukry said. "And the dream of peace and security moves further out of the Israeli people's reach as long as the conflict continues.

After decades of wars followed by a cold peace, Israel has emerged as a discreet ally to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el- Sissi. In particular, the two sides share intelligence in a common battle against Islamic militants operating in Egypt's Sinai desert and the Gaza Strip. …

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