Tags: Israel | Middle East | israel | palestinians | diplomacy | peace | egypt

Egypt Foreign Minister: Skeptical of Peace Because of Israel Settlements

Saturday, 09 Nov 2013 10:43 AM

CAIRO — Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said on Saturday he was growing "skeptical" that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal will be reached soon because of Israeli settlement building in the West Bank.

Fahmy's comments, in an interview with AFP, came on the eve of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's visit to Cairo and days after direct talks with Israel broke down over settlement construction.

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the region again this week in his seventh trip to Israel and the West Bank to try to put the troubled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks back on track.

Abbas "essentially accepted a historic compromise between the Palestinians and the Israelis and is simply asking for a contiguous state with East Jerusalem as its capital," Fahmy said.

"We are worried, I would even add to it, to a degree skeptical, but committed to trying to help as much as we can," Fahmy said.

"Settlement activity . . . is expanding and also going to the heart of the West Bank," he said.

In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab state to sign a peace deal with Israel in return for the Jewish state's withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, which was occupied five years before.

© AFP 2015

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