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Egyptian intelligence chief meets Netanyahu

 In this photo released by the Israeli Government Press Office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, shakes hands with Egypt's intelligenc...

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS EGYPT

In this photo released by the Israeli Government Press Office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, shakes hands with Egypt's intelligenc...

Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, the powerful official handling indirect Israel-Hamas contacts over a cease-fire and prisoner exchange, met Wednesday for the first time with leaders of Israel's new government.
Relations between the two nations have been tense since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office March 31, because of Netanyahu's hard-line views toward the Palestinians. Netanyahu has not endorsed creation of a Palestinian state, a cornerstone of recent years of peacemaking, and favors harsh crackdowns on Palestinian militants and other violent Arab groups.
Also, Egyptian officials have criticized Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman because last year he cursed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for not visiting Israel. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said Suleiman met Lieberman late Wednesday, apparently ending an unofficial boycott. No details were available about their talks.
Greeting Suleiman at his office, Netanyahu said Israel and Egypt have common interests, "and the most important one is peace." In a statement, Netanyahu's office said Suleiman invited the Israeli leader to visit Egypt.
Earlier, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Suleiman invited him to Egypt, and he planned to visit after Netanyahu.
Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979.
Suleiman, a powerful figure in Egypt, has navigated three sets of tricky negotiations in recent years. He has tried to achieve a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas that would win release of an Israeli soldier held nearly three years in Gaza as well as a stable cease-fire to follow Israel's January offensive in Gaza.
Also, Suleiman has been instrumental in efforts to reconcile the rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah. Hamas forces expelled Fatah from Gaza in 2007, a rift that has held up international assistance.
No agreements have been reached in the three sets of talks.


Updated : 2021-10-20 07:40 GMT+08:00