Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Cairo on Wednesday with
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the Organization of
Islamic Cooperation summit.
This was the second meeting between the two
men in the past year.
In September, Abbas met with the Iranian president
in Tehran during a summit of the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement.
said after the Cairo meeting that he thanked Ahmadinejad for Iran’s November
vote in favor of upgrading the Palestinians’ status at the UN to non-member
During the meeting, which was attended by chief PLO
negotiator Saeb Erekat, Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh and PA Foreign
Minister Riad Malki, the two leaders discussed the PA’s financial crisis and
efforts to achieve reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, according to a
statement published by Abbas’s office.
It was not clear, however, whether
Abbas had asked for Iranian funding to help solve the financial
Iran had long been providing Abbas’s rivals in Hamas with
financial and military aid.
But relations between Iran and Hamas have
deteriorated since the beginning of the current crisis in Syria. Hamas’s refusal
to support Syrian President Bashar Assad, Tehran’s major ally in the region, has
angered the Iranians.Addressing the conference in Cairo, Abbas called on the
Islamic countries to help the PA overcome its financial crisis.
called on these countries to invest in various projects in east Jerusalem and
accused Israel of waging a “fierce and brutal” campaign against the city and the
“Over the past four-and-a-half decades, the machine of
Judaization and elimination of the city’s Arab, Islamic and Christian character
has not stopped in accordance with a systematic and programmed policy aimed at
isolating Jerusalem from its surroundings,” Abbas said in his speech.
PA president said that he was doing his utmost to end the rivalry between Hamas
and Fatah, saying the best way to end the dispute was by holding elections in
the Palestinian territories.
Abbas also reiterated his opposition to
visits to Gaza by world leaders “as if there were an independent entity in the
The PA leadership recently condemned the Malaysian prime
minister for visiting the Gaza Strip and holding talks with Hamas leaders,
saying such a move “harms the oneness of Palestinian
Leaders of Islamic nations called for a negotiated end
to Syria’s civil war at the summit in Cairo that began on Wednesday.
summit of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation opened on a day when
the assassination of a leading Tunisian opposition politician highlighted the
fragility of Arab Spring democratic revolutions in North Africa.
Ahmadinejad making an ice-breaking visit to Egypt after 34 years of
estrangement, the two-day meeting was focusing on how to stop the bloodshed in
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday said the resolution
of the perennial Israel/Palestine issue was “the cornerstone of stability in the
Middle East,” Al-Ahram reported.
Addressing the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation summit in Cairo, Morsi also called for a “moderate version” of Islam
in light of rising Islamic fundamentalism, the paper quoted Morsi as
He also said that “Syria is still bleeding and our hearts
continue to bleed with the Syrian people.”
In a keynote address, Morsi
called on “the ruling regime” in Damascus to learn the lessons of history and
not put its interests above those of the nation, saying that rulers who did so
were inevitably finished.
He urged all OIC members to support the Syrian
opposition’s efforts to unite and bring about change.
The leaders of
Egypt, Turkey and Iran met on the sidelines of the summit to support the peace
initiative, an Egyptian presidential spokesman said, adding that Morsi had
brought together the most influential players in the conflict.
Arabia, a key supporter of the Syrian rebels and a member of an Islamic Quartet
formed by Morsi last August totry to broker a solution, did not attend,
Saudi Crown Prince Salman told the summit the Syrian
regime was “committing ugly crimes” against its people. He said the UN Security
Council should act to “finalize the transition of power.”
drafted by OIC foreign ministers and seen by Reuters blames Assad’s government
for most of the slaughter and urges it to open talks on a political
Diplomats said Iran had objected to the wording and it might
be toned down to spread responsibility more evenly.Reuters contributed
to this report.