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Abbas leaves Cairo after meeting with Egyptian president

March 21, 2017 1:28 P.M. (Updated: March 21, 2017 5:34 P.M.)
(File)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas left Cairo on Monday after a two-day visit to meet his Egyptian counterpart, Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, and other officials.

The meeting was attended by the Egyptian and Palestinian heads of intelligence, as well as by Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Samih Shukri.

During the presidential meeting, al-Sisi conveyed to Abbas that the Palestinian question would remain a top priority in Egypt’s foreign policy, according to a statement released by spokesperson for the Egyptian presidency Alaa Yousif.

“Egypt has always sought to find a just solution that will bring about permanent and comprehensive peace in the region, and lead to the creation of an independent Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the statement said.

Yousif added that during their meeting, Abbas applauded Egypt's efforts to reach a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and expressed appreciation for the ongoing efforts "at all levels" to provide protection for the Palestinian people and to help them achieve national unity.

Abbas also confirmed that coordination and consultation with the Egyptian president would remain a top priority of his administration, especially ahead of an Arab League Summit scheduled to be held in Jordan later this month.

The Palestinian president updated his counterpart on the latest contacts between Palestinian leadership and the new US administration. Abbas confirmed that he would discuss the question of Palestine with US President Donald Trump when he visits Washington in early April.

"It is important that the US administration continues to play its role as the main sponsor of the peace process, leading to resumption of peace talks with Israel in order to end the conflict and establish a Palestinian state,” Abbas said.

The Egyptian president also reiterated that Arab unity based on the Arab Peace Initiative remained a main element in the efforts to reach a just and comprehensive solution to the question of Palestine.

During a meeting between Abbas and the Egyptian foreign minister Sunday evening, Shukri stressed the necessity of Palestinian-Egyptian coordination in the coming period.

Shukri commended Abbas for his “wise” leadership, which he said served the best interests of the Palestinian people.

“We welcome the Palestinian president in Cairo and we support the Palestinian cause as much as we can to achieve the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” al-Shukri said, reiterating Egypt’s support for the two-state solution.

Egypt’s support for the Palestinian cause was called into question last December, after al-Sisi was reported to have colluded with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the incoming Trump administration to postpone a vote at the United Nations on a resolution that reiterated the illegality of Israeli settlements under international law -- which ultimately passed unanimously.

After Trump’s inauguration as president, when asked about his administration's position regarding the two-state solution during a press conference with Netanyahu last month, Trump responded ambivalently, saying he could “live with either” a one- or two-state solution.

While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, a growing number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace given the existing political context, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.

The calls have come as a growing number of leaders in Israel's far-right government have openly called for annexing all or parts of the occupied West Bank, further entrenching what critics have called an existing "apartheid" reality for Palestinians.
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