Netanyahu talks with Sisi amid Quartet concern over Gaza violence

Netanyahu and al-Sisi met for the first time in public last September in New York.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in New York  (photo credit: AVI OHAYON - GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in New York
(photo credit: AVI OHAYON - GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a late night two-hour meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as the Middle East Quartet said it was worried about Gaza violence.
The two leaders spoke late Wednesday night New York time about the situation in Gaza and regional developments, the Prime Minister’s Office said after the meeting.
Sisi “stressed the importance of resuming the negotiations between the two sides, the Palestinians and the Israelis, to reach a just and a comprehensive solution based on a two-state solution and in accordance with the international treaties,” according to a presidential statement.
Sisi was the only Arab leader to meet with Netanyahu, who also spoke with US President Donald Trump, as well as leaders from Belgium, Guatemala, Austria and Poland. Netanyahu and Sisi also met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last year.
In May, Netanyahu made a secret trip to speak with the Egyptian leader who, along with the UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov has attempted to broker a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas.
On Wednesday members of the Middle East Quartet – set up in 2002 to include the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations to mediate peace negotiations – met on the sidelines of the UNGA.
The group said it discussed “prospects for peace negotiations and the situation on the ground, in particular in Gaza.”
“The envoys expressed their deep concern over the continued escalation in Gaza,” the quartet said. “The Middle East Envoys expressed support for the United Nations’ efforts to prevent further escalation, empower the legitimate Palestinian authorities in Gaza and address all humanitarian needs, including through the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC).”
Mladenov also tweeted a message of concern. The AHLC is expected to meet on Thursday over the international funding crisis for Gaza and the Palestinians in the West Bank.
Sisi addressed the UNGA on Wednesday, and called for a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Sisi: continued Israeli-Palestinian conflict undermines U.N. credibility, September 26, 2018 (Reuters)
“Let me repeat what I have said in previous years on this platform: the Arabs are still extending a hand in peace,” Sisi said. “Our peoples deserve to turn this tragic page in history and the Palestinian people deserve to exercise their legitimate rights.”
Netanyahu also met with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Wednesday evening.
The chancellor briefed Netanyahu on the steps taken by the Austrian government and parliament to reflect their appreciation of the Jewish community, the memory of the Holocaust and the struggle against antisemitism.
The two leaders also discussed regional challenges and the need to curb Iranian aggression in the region and in the world.
Reuters contributed to this report.