Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, on a rare visit to Israel for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, presses for renewed peace efforts with the Palestinians and says a two-state solution is ''not far-fetched''. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The Egyptian foreign minister paid a rare visit to Israel on Sunday (July 10), pressing for renewed peace efforts with the Palestinians and saying before talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a two-state solution is "not far-fetched". Sameh Shoukry's visit, the first by an Egyptian foreign minister in nine years, was a sign of a closer engagement with Israel partly driven by shared alarm and security cooperation over common regional threats that include Islamist insurgency. The current state of affairs, said the Egyptian diplomat, who held talks in the occupied West Bank on June 29 with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "is neither stable nor sustainable". Direct talks on Palestinian statehood collapsed in 2014. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged both sides in May to seize the opportunity to make a historic peace, offering Israel the tantalizing prospect of warmer ties if this were achieved. Sisi offered the 2002 Arab peace initiative as a potential way ahead. The initiative offered full recognition of Israel but only if it gave up all land seized in the 1967 Middle East war and agreed to a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees. Netanyahu has said he would be willing to discuss the Arab peace plan, but that changes would have to be made. Greeting Shoukry on Sunday, Netanyahu repeated his call for Palestinians to resume direct negotiations with Israel, and welcomed Egypt's efforts to resolve that conflict. Shoukry's visit comes as France leads a renewed push to put peace efforts back on the agenda with an international peace conference held on June 3. The French initiative seeks to bring the two sides back to the table by year-end and was welcomed by the Palestinians. But Israeli officials have said only direct talks can end the decades-old conflict.