Cairo, Jan 3 (EFE).- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday urged a visiting US Congress delegation to make “extensive efforts” to prevent the conflict in Gaza from spreading in the Middle East amid escalating regional tensions.
Egypt specifically pointed to the recent surge in confrontations and tensions in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria since the start of the conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza on Oct. 7.
“The President underlined the crucial need to exert intensive and responsible efforts to avert factors conducive to the expansion of the conflict in the region, given the grave and momentous repercussions this would have on regional and international peace and security,” the Egyptian presidential office said in a statement.
During the meeting with the US delegation, El-Sisi highlighted the importance of achieving a “comprehensive settlement” to the Palestinian issue by establishing an “independent Palestinian State.”
“The only way to achieve sustainable security and stability in the region is through a just settlement, paving the way for true security for all the peoples of the region and defusing crises and wars,” the president said.
El-Sisi emphasized that the current priority in Gaza is to “achieve a ceasefire, protect civilians,” and ensure the unimpeded delivery of sufficient humanitarian aid into the Strip to address “the humanitarian tragedy” in the Palestinian enclave.
The bipartisan congressional delegation, led by Republican Senator Joni Ernst, expressed its “appreciation” for Egypt’s mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas that resulted in November in a seven-day ceasefire, the release of Israeli hostages from the custody of the Islamist group, and the facilitation of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, according to the statement.
The statement made no reference to recent negotiations between Israel and Hamas, amid reports that Egypt has suspended its role as mediator following the assassination of Hamas’ political leader, Saleh al-Arouri, on the outskirts of Beirut in an Israeli drone strike on Tuesday.
Palestinian and Egyptian sources confirmed to EFE that the negotiation process has been halted, and Palestinian factions have informed Cairo about the suspension of negotiations with Israel for a ceasefire. EFE