Egypt wants to play a key role in Israel-PA talks

Egypt and the new administration in the United States will play a key role in Israeli-Palestinian Authority (PA) peace talks, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, according to the Russia-based Sputnik news agency.

“Egypt is the key partner in ensuring negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian side. Therefore, it is necessary to take a balanced stance to keep an opportunity for maneuver and influence on the both sides of the upcoming negotiations focused on finding a comprehensive and fair settlement, which would guarantee the implementation of the rights of all Palestinians based on the UN decisions,” the ministry said, explaining why it withdrew the draft resolution at the United Nations condemning Israeli “settlements”.

Egypt was the country that originally submitted the anti-Israel resolution to the UN Security Council, but later withdrew the resolution, reportedly after being asked to do so by both Israel and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

On Friday, the draft was resubmitted by four other members of the Security Council, and it was voted upon, passing by a majority of 14-0 with the United States abstaining.

The Egyptian administration under President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had tensions with the outgoing American administration of President Barack Obama, but things appear to be headed in a different direction with Trump.

Sisi recently praised Trump and said he expected greater engagement in the Middle East from his administration.

On Thursday, hours after Sisi instructed the Egyptian delegation to withdraw the UN resolution, he and Trump discussed Middle East peace efforts in a phone call.

The Egyptian President has also been at the forefront of the effort to resume talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, having several months ago urged Israelis and PalestinianArabs to seize what he said was a “real opportunity” for peace and hailed his own country’s peace deal with Israel.