Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday made an official visit to Cairo to meet Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in a bid to strengthen bilateral ties.
“Strengthening Israel-Egypt relations is a very important interest of Israel,” Lapid said in a statement issued by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Further, according to the statement, Lapid’s one-day visit also includes a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, Xinhua news agency reported.
As “a gesture to strengthen ties”, Lapid will return to Egypt archeological artifacts that have been illegally smuggled from Egypt and seized by the Israeli authorities, it said.
The Israeli ministry said that the visit is part of the “Israeli government’s foreign policy to leverage the common interests of regional stability.”
The trip comes after Lapid and Shoukry talked over the phone in September, and agreed to strengthen bilateral ties.
In September, Sisi hosted Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The meeting marked the first official visit to Egypt by an Israeli leader for a decade.
Before returning home, Bennett said the meeting was “important and very good” and laid foundations for “strong ties” between the two countries.
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign peace accords with Israel in 1979, following decades of enmity.