Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 June 2019

Palestinian cause always a priority for Egypt, El-Sisi tells Abbas

A US peace deal will not be fair to Palestinians, Abbas warns his Egyptian counterpart

In this Jan. 17, 2018 photo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, meets with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi, in Cairo, Egypt. MENA via AP
In this Jan. 17, 2018 photo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, meets with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi, in Cairo, Egypt. MENA via AP

The Palestinian cause will always remain a priority for Egypt, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi told his Palestinian counterpart during a meeting in Cairo on Saturday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was on a three day visit to Egypt where he was scheduled to speak with Mr El-Sisi about Israeli-Palestinian relations and reconciliation efforts between his Fatah Party and Hamas, the militant rulers of Gaza.

Mr El-Sisi offered assurances that Egypt remains committed to advocating for the rights of the Palestinian people under international law, his spokesman told reporters after the meeting.

Egypt will also continue working with rival factions Hamas and Fatah to achieve greater Palestinian unity, spokesman Bassam Rady said. The two parties have been at odds since 2007 when Hamas expelled the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority from Gaza, after it contested Hamas’ 2006 election victory in the enclave.

During Saturday’s meeting, Mr Abbas reiterated his belief to Mr El-Sisi that a planned US peace deal will not be fair to the Palestinians.

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Egypt is attempting to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians to prevent a new conflict in Gaza, but early on Friday a beleaguered Mr Abbas struck a pessimistic tone speaking to reporters.

Having served as the president of the Palestinian Authority since 2005, Mr Abbas said the future looks bleak for the Palestinian people as he faces off against Israel, Hamas, and now the United States.

“We are dealing with three issues that we can not accept: the situation with the US, the situation with Israel and the situation with Hamas,” Mr Abbas told reporters.

“The future is dangerous. I have no more strength to fight, but I will not end my life as a traitor, I can say ‘no,’ and the Palestinian people beside me also say ‘no’.”

The Palestinian Authority ended dialogue with the US after President Trump moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last May, and says it will not participate in US President Donald Trump’s promised “deal of the century”.

Presidents Abbas and El-Sisi last met in November in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm Al Sheikh. On Sunday, they were both scheduled to attend the inauguration of a new mega mosque and a cathedral in Egypt’s new administrative capital outside of Cairo.

Updated: January 6, 2019 04:49 PM

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