Egypt reiterates support for Palestinian state

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Wednesday met with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, part of his first official visit to Ramallah since being appointed to the position.

According to Anadolu news agency, Shoukry also met with his PA counterpart, Riyad al-Malki, for talks which centered on Israel-PA peace negotiations and the French initiative for peace.

"This is my first visit [to Ramallah] since I was appointed to the position [of foreign minister]," Shoukry said at a press conference with al-Malki.

He went on to say that he brought a message of "solidarity and support" from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, reiterating Cairo’s support for an independent state of Palestine.

"During my meeting with President Abbas we discussed the Egyptian-Palestinian relationship and the French peace initiative aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," he said, according to Anadolu.

Shoukry also noted that Egypt’s Rafah border crossing with Gaza would be opened on Wednesday for a five-day period.

"Egypt is concerned about the interests and needs of the Palestinian people in Gaza," he stressed.

Shoukry's visit to the region came amid a continued global push for Israel and the PA to resume stalled peace talks.

In a recent televised speech, Sisi urged Israelis and Palestinians to seize what he said was a "real opportunity" and hailed his own country's peace deal with Israel.

The comments were welcomed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who stressed that "Israel is ready to participate with Egypt and other Arab states in advancing both the diplomatic process and stability in the region."

Abbas welcomed Sisi’s call as well, saying he welcomed the Egyptian president’s efforts to achieve peace and establish a Palestinian state.

In addition to Sisi's call, France has been at the forefront of international efforts to resume peace talks.

On June 3, France hosted a summit of foreign ministers in Paris who discussed ways in which the international community could "help advance the prospects for peace, including by providing meaningful incentives to the parties to make peace." 

Israel has rejected the French initiative, noting that it would be better if France and its partners would encourage Abbas to accept Netanyahu’s invitation to sit down for direct negotiations.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/214295

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