FM Shoukry with Azzam al-Ahmad during their meeting in Cairo, February 11- Press Photo FM Shoukry with Azzam al-Ahmad during their meeting in Cairo, February 11- Press Photo

Shoukry discusses updates on peace talks with Azzam al-Ahmad

Sun, Feb. 11, 2018
CAIRO - 11 February 2018: Member of the Fatah Central Committee, Azzam al-Ahmad, discussed the latest updates on developments to the Palestinian parties' reconciliation with Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry in a meeting in Cairo on Sunday.

According to an official statement by foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid, Shoukry listed to Ahmad’s evaluation of the current situation and his administration's latest efforts in the peace process, especially concerning excluding the United States from the peace talks as a mediator following Donald Trump’s recent decision regarding Jerusalem.

Ahmad assured during the meeting that the Palestinian administration is considering Jerusalem as no bargaining case. According to Abu Zeid’s statement, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is going to give a speech to explain his country's perspective about the peace process’ future within current developments.

Shoukry affirmed Egypt's firm stance on the Palestinian cause to Ahmad. He gave him detailed information about the extraordinary ministerial meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) on January 30 in Brussels.

In his speech to the AHLC, Shoukry said that a fair solution to the Palestinian problem will maintain security as well as stability. It also backs efforts combating terrorism in the region.

The meeting came within the framework of the European initiative targeting tackling the latest developments of the Palestinian problem, in light of the dedication from regional and international parties in coordinating efforts supporting the Palestinian cause, according to a statement by Abu Zeid.

Shoukry stressed the importance of exerting utmost efforts to push forward the Middle East peace process. The AHLC is a 15-member committee serving as the principal policy-level coordination mechanism for providing development assistance to the Palestinian people.

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FM Shoukry (R) with Azzam al-Ahmad (C) and Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid (L) during their meeting in Cairo, February 11- Press Photo

Permanent Representative of Palestine to the Arab League Ambassador Mohamed Sobeih described Trump’s decision of moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on December 6 as "illegal" in statements to the media outlets on Saturday after the third Arab Parliament conference.

Egypt has been playing a key role in the reconciliation process between the rival movements Fatah and Hamas. In October 2017, a reconciliation agreement was signed in Cairo between them.

In September 17, Hamas announced the dissolution of the administrative committee in the Gaza Strip, inviting the Government of National Reconciliation to assume its duties and hold general elections. The movement affirmed it would comply with the Social Reconciliation Accord signed in 2011.

On November 2, 2017 about seven borders in Gaza were handed over to the Palestinian National Reconciliation Government after a long period of conflict between Fatah and Hamas that severely affected their capability to negotiate their cause internationally.

However, after the reconciliation conducted between Fatah and Hamas under Egypt's sponsorship in October, several things changed as the Palestinian factions announced their unity.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that there is no country as vital to the Palestinian cause as Egypt, given its historical and political position in the region. “Egypt has an opinion, a position and an interest in the Palestinian cause,” said Abbas.

Egypt has frequently opened the Rafah Crossing in both directions to allow the passage of humanitarian cases. The last time the border was opened was in February 7, for three consecutive days.

The decision came amid tensions in the Middle East after U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement to recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel instead of Tel Aviv, which has attracted a huge regional and international backlash, criticizing the decision as “unilateral” and not serving the sake of the peace process.

In turn, the Palestinian administration announced that the U.S. will not engage in the peace talks any further, describing it as unfair and disqualified.
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