Foreign Ministers declare aim to find permanent solution to Israel conflict
CAIRO: King Abdullah II of Jordan met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo Wednesday to discuss a solution for the ongoing conflict between Palestinian factions and to revive the stalled peace process with Israel.
Thirty people have been killed as fighting continues between the two main Palestinian factions Fatah, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas, led within the territories by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
Sobhy Essaila, an expert from Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told The Daily Star Egypt that Egyptian discussions with Jordan concerning the Palestinian issue are imperative, because “Jordan is an integral partner in this equation.
He added: “Any solution for Palestine has major repercussions on Jordan, because of its sizable Palestinian population – around half the Jordanian population.
After the meeting, the two countries’ foreign ministers spoke to the press and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said that Egypt and Jordan were working on a joint initiative to halt the fighting.
It is a direct Egyptian and Jordanian attempt to deal with the Palestinian factions, calling on them to be reasonable so that they will reach an internal agreement, Abul Gheit said.
Abul Gheit also said that Egypt and Jordan will propose a “final status agreement with Israel and the Palestinians, which the two Arab states hope will replace the current Road Map, stalled since 2003.
He said: “There is a common position by Egypt, Jordan, the Arabs and the Palestinians – let us agree on the end of the road and let us agree on what we call…the endgame before we talk about the road map.
“The endgame has its specific concepts. Let s agree on the frameworks of the settlement. This is the Egyptian position, he added.
For his part, Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-Ilah Al-Khatib reiterated Abul Gheit’s comments on both the internal Palestinian dispute and the peace process with Israel.
“The outcome of the internal Palestinian fighting is devastating and will damage the region severely. We have to work in every possible way to avoid it from happening and stop it immediately, Al-Khatib said.
On the peace issue Al-Khatib added: “The final settlement is a Palestinian demand and an Arab demand, and there must be agreement on the final settlement whatever steps and stages it takes. Concerning Egypt’s revamped role in Palestine, Essaila said: “We are now talking to the politicians, and not just focusing on the security aspect. We are sending Abul Gheit to meet with all sides, and receiving political leaders in Egypt. This is the track we need to take, politics in addition to security because political solutions will last. This is an attempt to find common ground between all sides and I’m optimistic an initiative will be reached.
And due to the nature of the current disputes, all sides must be considered.
“It has become a Palestinian-Palestinian issue, and you can’t solve this without talking to Jordan or Syria (where Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal resides). We need to create a clear vision, and so we are talking to all sides. Now we need discussions with Syria and Saudi Arabia, Essaila said.
Essaila believes that for any initiative to be finalized there has to be an Egyptian meeting with King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia.