Al-Araby al-Jadeed has published an exclusive report citing Egyptian diplomatic sources that the former British PM and the Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair is working with Israeli and Egyptian officials to secure a summit between Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Binjamin Netanyahu before the end of this year.
According to the sources, Blair is leading the efforts with the adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Molcho.
Moreover, the Egyptian diplomat mentioned that a day after the Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry’s visit to the occupied Jerusalem, Blair held talks for this purpose with Netanyahu and Molcho to prepare for the summit.
The sources pointed out that one key point Blair is aiming to secure was the timing of the summit and the best way to “sell it” without affecting al- Sisi’s popularity among Egyptians. Most of the Egyptian public are against normalization with the Zionist entity.
The Egyptian FM’s latest visit was the first visit of an Egyptian diplomat in a decade. The visit is meant to pave the road to the Egyptian public to accept a high-level rapprochement between Egypt and Israel, the sources claimed, saying Netanyahu has not visited Egypt since he met with deposed President Hosni Mubarak days before the revolution of January 25, 2011, in Sharm el-Sheikh
Egypt’s FM visit differ from previous visits between Egypt and Israel which were held on the intelligence level as during Mubarak’s era when the head of Egyptian General Intelligence Omar Soliman used to travel with intelligence officers to hold joint meetings.
However, this is considered the first diplomatic visit to be held between both parts which infers that both parties tend to boast the diplomatic and bilateral relations in the coming period to either hold a bilateral summit or expand it into a regional summit to discuss Sisi’s initiative for resuming peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Al-Sisi is counting on his friend Blair to design the most favorable political demarche that would bring the Egyptian strongman back to the regional forefront and increase his international legitimacy,” reported al-Araby al-Jadeed.
The sources continued that al-Sisi prefers a four-way summit bringing together Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, the Jordanian King Abdullah II; or a three-way summit without Jordan, to avoid giving the impression of a bilateral rapprochement between Tel Aviv and Cairo.
Sisi’s desire has been communicated to Netanyahu by Blair.
According to the sources, Netanyahu prefers rapprochement with Egypt to be at the core of the summit, and for the negotiations with the Palestinians to come at a later stage, after the Palestinian Authority “puts its house in order.”
According to the diplomatic sources, the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh will be the most likely place to hold on the summit with the final details to be agreed in the coming weeks.
Previous efforts led by Sisi and Blair to bring about a breakthrough on the Israeli-Palestinian track were met with failure. In May, Netanyahu reportedly reneged on his promise to bring in pro-peace elements into his government at the behest of Sisi and Blair, instead allying with far-right anti-peace parties.
Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, established Tony Blair Associates (TBA) business for providing consultancy after he had left office at Downing Street. The former British Prime Minister has provided advice and consultancy to various Gulf states.