Biden discusses Israel-Gaza cease-fire, Middle East relations with Egypt’s Sisi

Rockets fired from Gaza City
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President Biden spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday, after the two leaders coordinated a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas, following 11 days of intense fighting between the two that followed weeks of unrest that started in and near Jerusalem.

Biden thanked Sisi for Egypt’s “successful diplomacy and coordination with the United States to end the recent hostilities in Israel and Gaza and ensure violence does not reoccur,” according to a readout of the call from the White House.

The leaders also discussed the “urgent need” to administer humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza, and “support rebuilding efforts” in a way that “benefits the people there and not Hamas.”

The readout comes as the same day the White House announced that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will make a trip to the Middle East this week to meet separately with Israeli and Palestinian officials. The trip will also include meetings with Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah.

Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire on Thursday, ending more than a week of violence marked by missile strikes and rocket fire in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The cease-fire involved Egypt, which has the ability to negotiate with both Israel and Hamas, the ruling political party in the Gaza Strip designated by the U.S. to be a terrorist group. 

Biden and Sisi in their call on Monday also discussed other issues impacting the Middle East, including Libyan plans for national elections and the removal of foreign military and irregular forces from Libya.

Additionally, they recognized their support for the Iraqi government’s efforts to fortify the country’s full sovereignty and independence, and discussed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Biden also emphasized the importance of a “constructive dialogue” regarding human rights in Egypt, according to the readout.

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