Egypt's El Sisi and US President Biden discuss Gaza ceasefire and reconstruction

Call was the second in days, with the conversation this time going beyond the Gaza-Israel conflict

US President Joe Biden called Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Monday to discuss strengthening the Gaza ceasefire, urgent humanitarian aid to the strip and international efforts to rebuild it, the Egyptian president's office said.

The two leaders also discussed ways to revive the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis after the latest wave of violence, Mr El Sisi's office said.

Egypt brokered the ceasefire, now in its fourth day, after 11 days of hostilities. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will stop in Cairo on his visit to the region.

"Biden made clear his country's determination to work to restore calm and restore conditions as they were in the Palestinian territories, as well as co-ordinating efforts with all international partners to support the Palestinian Authority as well as reconstruction," the Egyptian presidency said.

Mr Biden thanked Mr El Sisi for Egypt's work to settle the conflict, the White House said.

It was Mr Biden's second call to Mr El Sisi in less than a week to discuss the conflict.

The discussion this time was also expanded to bilateral relations and some regional issues, including Libya and Iraq.

Mr Biden and Mr El Sisi exchanged views on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile and which Egypt regards as an existential threat.

"It was agreed to strengthen diplomatic efforts during the coming period in order to reach an agreement that preserves water and developmental rights for all parties," the statement said.

Mr El Sisi and Mr Biden also discussed human rights in Egypt and their "commitment to engage in a transparent dialogue ... in this regard".

Mr El Sisi, who ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013, has overseen an extensive crackdown on political dissent that has steadily tightened in recent years.

He has said there are no political prisoners in Egypt and that stability and security are paramount.

"The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a strong and productive US-Egypt partnership," the White House said.

Updated: May 25, 2021 10:44 AM

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