Egypt's Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) and Fatah Leader Azzam Al-Ahmad (L) in Cairo on Feb 11, 2018- Press Photo Egypt's Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry (R) and Fatah Leader Azzam Al-Ahmad (L) in Cairo on Feb 11, 2018- Press Photo

Egypt backs Palestinian reconciliation: Fatah leader

Tue, Feb. 13, 2018
CAIRO – 13 February 2018: Azzam al-Ahmad, member of the Fatah Central Committee, met with Egypt’s acting chief of General Intelligence Service (GIS), Abbas Kamel, in Cairo on Sunday and discussed the recent developments of the Palestinian cause.

Ahmad and Kamel tackled the necessary procedures needed to implement the agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas in Cairo under Egyptian auspices. “The formation of a national consensus government is the first step to end the Palestinian internal dispute,” Ahmad added in press statements on Monday.

The Palestinian reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas has moved slowly, as the Palestinian government, led by Prime Minister Ramy Hamdallah, has still faced various obstacles, disabling it from doing its normal tasks, Ahmad revealed.

On Sunday, Ahmad discussed the latest updates on developments of the Palestinian parties' reconciliation with Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry in a meeting in Cairo.

According to an official statement by foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid, Shoukry listened 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 U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent decision regarding Jerusalem.

During the meeting, Ahmad assured that the Palestinian administration is considering Jerusalem as a 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 the 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.
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Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (R), Fatah Leader Azzam al-Ahmad (C) and Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid (L) in Cairo on Feb 11, 2018- Press Photo


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 the 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.

Ambassador Mohamed Sobeih, permanent representative of Palestine to the Arab League, described Trump’s decision of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on December 6 as "illegal" in statements to 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 between them was signed in Cairo.

On 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 on 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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