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Egypt reaffirms its support for an independent Palestinian state

Dec. 10, 2016 4:29 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 10, 2016 4:29 P.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- The Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shukri said on Saturday that Egypt has continued to support the Palestinian struggle for an independent state, and emphasized the importance of returning to peace negotiations. 

Shukri’s statements came during a speech at the 12th session of the Manama Dialogue Conference being held in Bahrain from Dec. 9 until the 11th. 

Shukri also pointed out that the initiative spearheaded by Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi supports any future negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders. 

Egypt launched a peace initiative for Palestinian and Israeli leaders to engage in trilateral negotiations around a potential solution for the nearly 70-year-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict earlier this year. 

The initiative was organized to support the multilateral French initiative that is kicking off in Paris later this month.

Palestinian ambassador to Egypt and the Arab League Jamal al-Shubaki said back in May that although the Palestinian Authority remained in favor of the French-proposed negotiations, President al-Sisi’s proposed talks have sent a message to the region and Israel on the importance of the Palestinian cause, and has furthered the notion that solving the conflict would help ameliorate the region of debilitating wars and terrorism.

Netanyahu rejected the French initiative in April, saying the “best way to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestinians is through direct, bilateral negotiations," and instead voiced his support for President al-Sisi’s initiative aiming to bring Israeli and Palestinian leaders face to face to restart the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

The Palestinian Authority, however, has expressed hope for the French initiative, and in April shelved the submission of a new anti-settlement resolution to the UN out of fear that doing so could thwart progress of new French proposals.

The conference is expected to exclude Israeli and Palestinian leaders until a larger summit is held on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the fall.

All past efforts towards peace negotiations have failed to end the decades-long Israeli military occupation or bring Palestinians closer to an independent contiguous state.

The most recent spate of negotiations led by the US collapsed in April 2014.

Israel claimed the process failed because the Palestinians refused to accept a US framework document outlining the way forward, while Palestinians pointed to Israel's ongoing settlement building and the government's refusal to release veteran prisoners.

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