Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Sisi speaking at the UN Assembly in New York

Egypt's president has called on Palestinians to "unite" and put aside their differences to coexist with Israelis.

Speaking at the U.N General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said he wanted to "tell the Palestinian people, it is important to unite ... to overcome the differences and to be ready to accept co-existence with the other, with Israelis, in safety and security," according to Arab News.

Sisi also said that the peace deal Egypt made with Israel in 1978 could be expanded to include the Palestinians, to "overcome the barrier of hatred forever."

Sisi and Netanyahu just met publicly for the first time

The Egyptian president's words come just after his first public meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The two Middle Eastern leaders met for 90 minutes on Monday and appeared jovial as they discussed regional issues. Photos of the men laughing and smiling together were published by Israeli media and online.

According to a statement issued by Netanyahu's office, Sisi expressed his willingness "to assist efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians and the region."

Netanyahu and Sisi
Netanyahu and Sisi in New York Source: Twitter/nelsherif

Trump is optimistic about peace

The meeting between Sisi and Netanyahu came just as U.S. President Donald Trump has voiced optimism about efforts to reconcile Palestinians and Israelis. 

"It would be a fantastic achievement. We are giving it an absolute go. I think there's a good chance it could happen. Most people would say that there is no chance whatsoever. I think with the capability of Bibi - and frankly, the other side - I really think we have a chance. I think Israel would like to see it. I think the Palestinians would like to see it. And I can tell you that the Trump Administration would like to see it," Trump said following a meeting with Netanyahu earlier on Monday, according to media reports.

"Historically people say it can't happen - I say it can happen," the U.S. president said.

Egypt has been at peace with Israel for decades

Although most Arab countries have historically taken a stance against Israel and anti-Israel sentiments are widespread among Arab populations, Egypt has maintained more positive relations with Israel for decades. 

Egypt was suspended from the Arab League – which it was instrumental in founding – in 1979 due to the 1978 Camp David Peace Accords brokered by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Ten years later, In 1989, Egypt was readmitted to the Arab League.