Fahmy visits Abbas to strengthen ties with Palestinian Authority

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy voices support for ‘Palestinian cause’, but warns that Israeli settlement activity & yesterday’s deadly West Bank incident jeopardize the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.




Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy on Monday reiterated that the “Palestinian cause” remains an Egyptian priority, and thanked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for standing by Cairo’s military rulers.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy (L) meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy (L) meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Monday, Aug 26, 2013. – Photo: AP

“Abbas was among the first to come to Egypt to show support,” Fahmy told a news conference in Ramallah alongside his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Malki.

Abbas met with members of Egypt’s new interim government in late July.

Fahmy said he brought a letter from Egypt’s government thanking the Palestinian Authority and Abbas.

“I came to Palestine to express our position and full support for the rights of the Palestinian people, and Egypt continues its support in spite of what it is going through,” he added.

Fahmy arrived on his first visit to Ramallah from Amman on a Jordanian army helicopter.

He also expressed support for the recently renewed peace negotiations with Israel, but said Israeli settlement activity and an incident that resulted in the deaths of three Palestinians from Israeli gunfire the West Bank on Monday jeopardized “chances for the success of the negotiations.”

“The Palestinian cause is a priority for Egypt and the Arab world and we will never change that,” he said.

Fahmy’s visit was seen as an attempt to remedy relations between the Egyptian and Palestinian people.

Abbas had not supported the Muslim Brotherhood, seen as a patron of his rival, the Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza.

Abbas has publicly insisted that Palestinian policy was not to meddle in internal Arab affairs and has urged Hamas not to take sides in the Egyptian conflict.

Egypt has accused Hamas of taking active part in the conflict on the side of deposed President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

As a result, Egypt has all but shut the Rafah terminal, the only border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, opening it only occasionally for four hours a day.

Fahmy said he discussed the issue of the Rafah crossing with Abbas.

Hamas has recently hinted that it may allow some kind of cooperation in running the crossing with Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, after it had previously refused any such role.


View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.543643