Israeli and Egyptian intelligence officials are working on security for the Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to allow it to be opened to Israeli tourists, Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said in Cairo on Tuesday.
Cohen said Egypt is “doing everything to bring in Israeli tourists as they did in the past,” and that he plans to have Sharm el-Sheikh excepted from the security warning against Israelis visiting the area.
The intelligence minister led what he said was the largest official Israeli delegation to Egypt in 20 years, including officials from his office, as well as a trade mission of over 20 Israelis to the resort at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula to promote cooperation in the economy, security and intelligence.
Cohen met with Egyptian Deputy Intelligence Minister Nasser Fahmi, and they discussed their joint fight against radical Islamic terrorism, with an emphasis on securing the Sinai area, as well as the Red Sea.
“Egypt is interested in promoting cooperation with Israel in every area,” Fahmi said, according to the Intelligence Ministry. “We will continue to act in the future to strengthen economic and bilateral relations.”
“This is a historic visit that was made possible due to talks we secretly led between our governments for two years, and now business owners have entered the conversation,” Cohen said.
Cohen, the former economy minister, expressed hope that the meetings with Egyptian officials will lead to further agreements and cooperation between the countries in trade, and not just intelligence.
“The connection between Egypt and Israel, the proximity and history, is a strategic connection,” he stated. “In the coming months we will see the fruits of this important visit.”
Among the business leaders on the trip were Rami Levy, owner of the eponymous supermarket chain. Others were from the areas of water, construction, tourism, and infrastructure.