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Egypt’s Sisi hosts Jordan, Palestinian leaders to discuss Saudi-Israel ties: source

Egypt hikes interest rates six points to record 27.25%
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Egypt‘s president on Monday welcomed the Palestinian and Jordanian leaders, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s spokesman said, with a source adding they discussed speculations over Saudi Arabia moving to normalise ties with Israel.

Sisi met with King Abdullah II of Jordan and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in the northern coastal city of El Alamein, Egyptian presidential spokesman Ahmed Fahmy said.

During a tripartite meeting, the leaders discussed “the development of the Palestinian cause” and expressed their support for a “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with east Jerusalem as the future Palestinian capital, Fahmy said in a later statement.

But while there was no mention of the topic of potential Israeli-Saudi normalisation in the official statement, a Palestinian source close to the matter told AFP that it was the key topic on the table.

The summit was held “to discuss US efforts to achieve normalisation of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and the Palestinian Authority’s requirements in the framework of the signing of such a deal”, the source said.

Egypt was the first Arab country to normalise ties with Israel in 1979, followed by Jordan in 1994. Both countries are key allies of Saudi Arabia.

A number of Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, followed suit decades later, recognising Israel in a series of US-brokered deals known as the Abraham Accords.

There has been much speculation in the media, particularly in recent weeks, that Saudi Arabia would follow suit, but such a deal has yet to materialise.

Riyadh on Saturday named for the first time a non-resident ambassador for the Palestinian Territories who will also serve as consul general in Jerusalem.

The file for the Palestinian Territories has traditionally been handled by the Saudi embassy in Amman.

Israel has also not officially commented on the rumoured normalisation push, but Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has said that “peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia is a matter of time”.

During US President Joe Biden‘s tour of the Middle East last year, the Saudi civil aviation authority announced that it was lifting overflight restrictions on “all carriers”, paving the way for Israeli planes to use Saudi airspace.

Biden himself flew directly to Jeddah from Israel’s Ben Gurion airport for his talks with Saudi leaders.

But the kingdom denied at the time that the airspace move was “a precursor to any further steps” towards normalisation.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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