Egyptian President at UNGA, urges Israel-Palestinians to move toward peace

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addressed the UN General Assembly last night on a variety of pressing issues in the Middle East, including the Arab Israeli conflict and the war in Syria. During his address, the Egyptian leader briefly went off script to directly address the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships and peoples, urging both sides to seize what he said was “a true opportunity to write a bright page in the history of our region to move toward peace.”

“Permit me to deviate from the written statement through this forum which represents the voice of the world to address an appeal to the Israeli leadership and Israeli people to look into the need of finding a solution to this question (Arab Israeli conflict). We have a true opportunity, a real opportunity to write a bright page in the history of our region to move towards peace. The Egyptian experience is wonderful and unique, and can be repeated by solving the problem of the Palestinians and establishing a Palestinian state side by side with the Israeli state that preserves peace and security… for the Palestinians and safety and security for the Israelis. Prosperity and peace for both the Israelis and Palestinians,” said Al-sisi.

Egypt was the first of a handful of Arab countries to recognize Israel, in 1979, but the downfall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 brought to power the government of Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, straining relations with Israel. Cooperation has improved since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power in 2013, with Egypt battling Islamist insurgents in the Sinai Peninsula near its border with Israel and both countries wary of the Islamist Hamas organization, which control the Gaza Strip.