Palestinian President and Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet President Adly Mansour on Sunday as part of a three day visit to Cairo.
Abbas’ visit begins Saturday and the Palestinian official is slated to meet with top Egyptian officials including Defence Minister Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayeb, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Al-Araby and Director of Egyptian Intelligence General Mohamed El-Tohamy, a statement by the Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Barakat Al-Farra said.
Abbas and Mansour are scheduled to discuss the ongoing US sponsored peace talks between Israel and Palestine. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry has reaffirmed, on several occasions, Egypt’s position on Palestinian-Israeli talks: “That the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations are serious, that they follow the agreed timetable and that they lead to the establishment of an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state based on the June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Abbas and Mansour are also set to talk about reconciliation efforts meant to bring an end to the Palestinian divide. Fatah, the largest faction in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, have been involved in a war of words in recent months, affected by the polarisation in Egypt.
But divisions between Fatah and Hamas date back to 2006 when disputes broke out between them, after Hamas’s victory in the parliamentary elections. Eventually, Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 and the strip has been under a land, air and sea blockade since.
After a high level Fatah meeting last week, Abbas’ spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh expressed the importance of Egypt sponsoring the reconciliation efforts, adding that no alternative to Egyptian mediation will be accepted, state-run MENA reported. He added that reconciliation is a priority since it will be followed by the formation of a National Unity Government and presidential and parliamentary elections.