PA, Egyptian and Jordanian FMs meet in Cairo ahead of US Mideast visit

By
August 20, 2017 08:51

The White House delegation is slated to arrive in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in the coming days.

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PA Foreign Minister al Maliki and Egyptian counterparts in Cairo, July 2017

PA Foreign Minister al Maliki and Egyptian counterparts in Cairo, July 2017. (photo credit:MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS)

Days before US President Donald Trump’s administration plans to dispatch a high-level delegation to the Middle East, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Egyptian Foreign Minister Samih Shukri on Saturday jointly called on the international community to intensify its efforts “to create the appropriate climate to reach a peace deal based on the two-state solution.”

The three Arab foreign ministers also urged the international community and other parties involved to work on relaunching peace talks in accordance UN resolutions, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and a limited time frame to end Israel’s military rule, a joint statement read by Shukri at the conclusion of the trilateral meeting stated.

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The Trump administration delegation, which is expected to travel to a number of Middle Eastern countries including Israel, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in the coming days, is slated to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and other Middle Eastern leaders. The American delegation will comprise senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner, US special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt and US deputy national security adviser Dina Powell.

According to a White House official, Trump believes the relative calm in Israel and the Palestinian territories at the current moment presents an “opportunity to continue discussions and the pursuit of peace.”

Last week, the PLO’s top body, the executive committee, called on the Trump administration to declare that it supports the two-state solution and ask Israel to halt settlement construction.

“The Executive Committee urged the American administration to back the principle of two states along the 1967 borders and ask the occupation authority, Israel, to halt colonial settlement activities,” an executive committee statement published on August 12 said.

The Trump administration has refrained from taking clear-cut positions on both the two-state solution and settlements, bucking former President Barak Obama’s policies on the issues.

Trump told a White House press conference in February that he “is looking at two-state and one-state” and that he is “happy with the one that both parties like.”

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has reportedly tried to convince Israel to limit settlement construction, but steered clear of condemning or calling it illegal.

Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad said on August 14 that the Palestinians are considering turning to international bodies including the UN, if the US administration fails to revive a “serious peace process.”

Ahmad defined a “serious peace process” as one in which the US and Israel announce their support for a two-state solution and Israel halts settlement activity.

The meeting of the three Arab foreign ministers in Cairo also dealt with internal Palestinian reconciliation, the joint statement said.


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