US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived Sunday in Cairo on the first leg of his three-day visit to the region for talks with the leadership of Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Blinken met with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and senior Egyptian officials to discuss the US-Egypt strategic relationship, along with “shared support for elections in Libya and the ongoing Sudanese-led political process,” The State Department said in a statement.
Blinken arrives in Israel on Monday, where he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and other senior Israeli leaders to discuss the “enduring US support for Israel’s security, particularly against threats from Iran.”
According to the State Department, those talks will include a focus on “Israel’s deepening integration into the region, Israeli-Palestinian relations and the importance of a two-state solution, and a range of other global and regional issues.”
On Tuesday, Blinken is scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and senior PA officials to discuss “Israeli-Palestinian relations and the importance of a two-state solution, political reforms, and further strengthening the US relationship with the Palestinian people and leadership,” the State Department said.
Blinken is expected to emphasize the “urgent need for the parties to take steps to deescalate tensions in order to put an end to the cycle of violence that has claimed too many innocent lives,” in his meetings both in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
He is also expected to discuss “the importance of upholding the historic status quo” on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, “in words and in actions,” the State Department said.
The Secretary’s visit comes just two days after one of the deadliest Arab terror attacks in more than a decade left seven Jewish Israelis dead and three more wounded in a shooting attack outside a synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Neve Yaakov and a second terror attack, also in Jerusalem, left two more Israelis seriously wounded.