President Morsi met Thursday with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, holding bilateral talks over the Palestinian question and the Syrian crisis.
“We have discussed Egyptian efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation. We have agreed that Palestinians from different factions will meet in Egypt next week to continue their talks on reconciliation,” Morsi said during a press conference today with Gul.
He added that talks have also explored efforts to end the settlement issues on the occupied Palestinian territories and the occupation of Gaza Strip.
“I would like to praise Egyptian efforts in helping Palestinians achieve reconciliation,” Gul said.
In 2006, a conflict occurred between Hamas and Fatah, which led to a split in the Palestinian Authority into two parties. Each of the factions believes they truly represent the Palestinian people. In late November 2012, Egypt brokered a ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel following the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. Morsi has been exerting efforts to mediate between conflicting Palestinian factions.
Head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Cairo to attend the 12th session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday. A session was dedicated to discuss the issue of settlements on the occupied Palestinian lands.
Morsi and Gul also discussed the Syrian crisis during their bilateral meeting.
“When we see this blood wasted inside Syrian houses we feel as if it is happening inside our own houses,” said Gul. He emphasised that the Syrian crisis is one of the topics that are of “great concern” to Turkey.
On Wednesday, a trilateral meeting was held between Morsi, Gul and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinajad, who was also attending the OIC summit in Cairo, to explore the Syrian conflict.
Commenting on the meeting with Gul, Morsi said their discussions centered around ways to stop the bloodshed in Syria.
He stressed that the situation in Syria is “painful”, highlighting that the trilateral meeting also discussed “a framework for solving this crisis”. Foreign ministers are currently discussing the exact concepts and procedures to end the violence.
“We will announce these procedures once they are finalised, and hopefully it won’t take long,” said Morsi.
In August 2012, Morsi initiated a quarterly initiative between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey that aims at searching for solutions to the Syrian situation. The initiative, which was announced during an exceptional session of the OIC, was not, however, developed any further.
During the press conference, Morsi told reporters that Saudi Arabia is closely following the discussions that are taking place on this matter. The Saudi delegation left the OIC session on Wednesday “for other engagements” said presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali.
Morsi and Gul also discussed methods to bolster economic relations between the two countries. The Turkish president stated that Turkish companies trading in Egypt have pumped investments totalling $5bn and that “we aim to increase this trade to reach $10bn”.
He added that the number of Turkish employees in Egypt has reached almost 60,000. “We believe that the coming period will witness an increasing number of employment opportunities in Egypt,” Gul said.