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President Rivlin hosted the Egyptian Ambassador to Israel at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the Israel-Egypt Peace Agreement

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President Rivlin said: “The peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed only six years after a terrible war between our countries in 1973. We could never have imagined that only a few years later our leaders would hug and shake hands. This should serve as an inspiration for our efforts to achieve peace with all of our neighbors, and especially our Palestinian neighbors.”

President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Tuesday 25 June / 21 Sivan hosted a meeting to mark the 40th anniversary of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Khaled Azmi, Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi also took part in the event. The event included members of the diplomatic corps, Israeli ambassadors who previously served in Egypt and officials who served in key roles during the peace process with Egypt.

“Two generations of Israelis and Egyptians know only peace between our countries,” the president said at the beginning of his remarks.” The gift of peace is a tremendous gift which the leaders of Egypt and Israel have given to their children and grandchildren. I want to especially express our appreciation to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi whose commitment to peace, stability and cooperation has ensured that our relationship stays strong.”

He continued: “the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed only six years after a terrible war between our countries in 1973. We could never have imagined that only a few years later our leaders would hug and shake hands. This should serve as an inspiration for our efforts to achieve peace with all of our neighbors, and especially our Palestinian neighbors and cousins. When courageous leaders are willing to end their conflict, and set out on a new path based on reconciliation and mutual respect, peace can be achieved more quickly than we can imagine.”

Speaking to Egyptian Ambassador Khaled Azmi, the president said: “My friend, the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt is the cornerstone of stability in the Middle East. I hope that President Sisi and I have an opportunity to meet soon, and to mark many decades of mutual, strategic collaboration between our countries. I also wish to thank President Sisi for his warm letter of condolence after the passing away of my wife, Nechama.”

Egyptian Ambassador Khaled Azmi: “Middle East peace can best be served by learning from our own past experiences. Our peace treaty has set important example in how Middle East peace is negotiated, and by what means should Arab and Israeli interests be accounted for in a peace process. Egypt was the pioneer in initiating peace in the Middle East. Our vision was, and still is, based on full nation-statehood and security for everyone in the region. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has wasted the resources and disrupted the lives of the people of the Middle East for many decades. It is saddening to claim the status-quo as the most that we can achieve of the hopes and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians. The goal we aim to achieve through negotiations between the two parties is one that is based on justice, legitimate rights and mutual willingness to coexist in two neighboring independent states living in peace and security. This will provide a tangible new reality for the Israelis and Palestinians, enabling them to enjoy the well-deserved, peace security, and prosperity.”

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz: “The challenge before us today is to turn peace between the two countries into a genuine and warm relationship between the citizens of the countries. This is the time for greater cooperation in areas such as modern technology, industry, energy, water, agriculture and other fields. As Foreign Minister, I intend to prioritize regional economic cooperation, for the benefit of all. The United States is a partner to these efforts, and Egypt can play a more central role. With the perspective of 40 years, looking back over history, we can clearly state that Menachem Begin was right. Now is the time to continue the historical vision of Begin and Sadat and to increase the circle of countries and partners in economic initiatives and regional peace.”

Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi: “As a young and idealistic student leader, 40 I fought 40 years ago to save the Sinai settlements. I am proud of that. But I am also happy to admit that the peace agreement with Egypt strengthened the State of Israel on every level – political, security and economic – and as a minister of regional cooperation, I see it every day anew.”

Attached photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)

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