Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, right, welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. (AFP)

Security tops agenda in first Egypt-Israel talks in a decade

Israel’s Naftali Bennett has met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the first visit to the North African country by a prime minister of the Jewish state in more than a decade.

Mr Sisi hosted the Israeli Prime Minister in the Red Sea ­resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where they discussed efforts to revive the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Security co-operation between the two countries was also discussed at the meeting attended by Egyptian intelligence chief and ­Israel’s national security adviser. Mr Bennett said the meeting helped create “a foundation for deep ties in the future” between Egypt and Israel.

The talks addressed “a series of issues in the diplomatic, security and economic spheres” and “ways to deepen ties and strengthen the interests of our countries”, he said.

Mr Bennett also praised Egypt’s “significant role” in bringing security to the Gaza Strip “and in finding a solution to the issue of the (Israeli) captives and missing”.

Egypt was the first Arab country in 1979 to sign a peace treaty with Israel, after decades of enmity. In May, it played a key role in brokering a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip, after 11 days of deadly fighting.

Monday’s talks also addressed regional issues, including Iran’s nuclear program, an Israeli diplomatic source said.

Read the article by Sarah Benhaida and Farid Farid in The Australian (AFP).