Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday for talks on Israeli-Palestinian relations and bilateral ties in the first official trip by an Israeli head of government to Egypt for a decade.
Bennett, the head of a far-right party who took office in June, was invited to visit by Sisi last month.
Since May, Egypt has played a prominent role in brokering and trying to reinforce a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip after 11 days of conflict there between Israel and Palestinian faction Hamas, which controls the enclave.
Bennett said the talks in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh covered diplomacy, security and the economy. “We created a foundation for a deep connection going forward,” he said before flying home.
In the discussions, Sisi cited Egypt’s efforts to maintain calm in the Palestinian territories and the importance of international support for rebuilding efforts there, according to an Egyptian presidency statement.
An uptick in cross-border violence since late August has tested the fragile truce in Gaza. Over the past week, Palestinians have fired rockets into Israel for three nights in a row, drawing Israeli airstrikes.
Sisi also “affirmed Egypt’s support for all efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, according to the two-state solution”, the presidency statement said.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014 and analysts say there is little prospect of reviving them. Bennett, a nationalist atop a cross-partisan coalition, opposes Palestinian statehood. His government has focused on policies to improve economic conditions in the Palestinian territories.