Israel, Egypt FMs agree to boost bilateral ties

An Egyptian soldier stands guard at the Taba crossing between Egypt and Israel on October 26, 2011. Israel's security cabinet approved a deal to free 25 Egyptians held in Israeli jails in exchange for the release of alleged US-Israeli spy Ilan Grapel, a government statement said./MAHMUD KHALED/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry talked over the phone on Sunday and agreed to strengthen bilateral ties, Lapid’s office said in a statement.

The two ministers agreed to boost the good relations between the two countries and advance the ties forward,” the statement read. They both declared their wish to strengthen bilateral economic ties and “increase the potential of trade and business activity.”

They also discussed Lapid’s “economy in return for security” plan for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip which he presented last week. Gaza, a coastal Palestinian enclave, has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since 2007.

The talk came after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hosted Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh last Monday. The meeting marked the first official visit to Egypt by an Israeli leader for a decade.

Before returning home, Bennett said the meeting was “important and very good,” which laid foundations for “strong ties” between the two countries.

After decades of enmity, Egypt was the first Arab country to sign peace accords with Israel in 1979.