JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A senior Israeli diplomat made a rare trip to Egypt on Sunday to discuss how to re-launch peace talks with the Palestinians, which have been stalled since last year.
The visit to Cairo by Dore Gold, director-general of Israel’s foreign ministry, came a week after Egypt appointed its first ambassador to Israel since 2012. The two countries signed a peace treaty in 1979.
Gold met senior Egyptian officials to discuss “how to push the peace process forward,” Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported, citing Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty. Israel’s foreign ministry also confirmed the visit in a statement.
Israel and Egypt’s military-run government, which orchestrated the removal of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in 2013, share common concerns about militants active in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula as well as the Islamist group Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip.
Israeli security and intelligence officials held talks in Cairo during last summer’s Gaza war as part of a successful Egyptian bid to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
The Israeli foreign ministry and MENA portrayed Gold’s visit as routine, saying it stemmed from his recent appointment to his post as director-general.
Reporting by Allyn Fisher-Ilan in Jerusalem and Yara Bayoumy in Cairo; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Digby Lidstone