Palestine, Egypt leaders talk Hamas-Fatah rapprochement

Mohamed Al-Rayes

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday discussed political developments and the inter-Palestinian reconciliation process with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas.

According to a statement issued by al-Sisi’s office, the two leaders — in a brief phone call — stressed the need to achieve reconciliation between Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas, and “overcome outstanding differences between them”.

They also discussed pertinent regional issues, the statement read, emphasizing that Monday’s phone conversation had taken place “within the context of ongoing consultations between the two countries”.

Abbas, for his part, voiced appreciation for Egyptian mediation efforts between the two rivals and its longstanding support for the Palestinian cause.

The two leaders concluded their conversation by agreeing to “maintain close coordination on issues of common concern”.

The Middle East is currently witnessing a period of intensified diplomatic activity.

Al-Sisi’s conversation with Abbas comes one day after Egyptian officials held high-level talks with an Emirati delegation in Cairo — talks that included a meeting between the foreign ministers of both countries.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump is slated to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House.

That meeting is expected to address the nine-month-long crisis in inter-Arab relations — pitting Qatar against a Saudi-led bloc of Arab states — and the sensitive Palestine-Israel issue.

Last October, Fatah and Hamas signed a tentative reconciliation deal in Cairo, but the agreement’s terms have yet to be implemented amid tit-for-tat recriminations between the two sides. (AA)