Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to hold talks in Cairo in Monday with Gen. Mohammed Tantawi, head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

It would be Abbas’s second visit to Cairo since Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down earlier this year as president.

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Abbas’s talks with Tantawi will focus on the latest developments in the region and the PA’s efforts to secure backing for its intention to ask the United Nations in September to recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines.

Abbas will also brief Tantawi on the outcome of the emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Qatar on Saturday.

The ministers met at the request of the PA leadership to discuss recent statements by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu concerning the peace process.

The PLO envoy to Cairo, Barakat Farra, announced that Abbas would also thank Tantawi for his decision to reopen the Rafah border crossing with Gaza permanently and his efforts to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

In the past, the PA leadership was opposed to the reopening of the terminal, out of fear that such a move would bolster Hamas and tighten its grip on the Gaza Strip.


Abbas’s talks with Tantawi and other Egyptian officials will also deal with efforts to establish a Palestinian unity government as envisaged by the reconciliation accord.

Hamas and Fatah negotiators have failed to agree on the identity of the prime minister who would head the unity government.

Hamas reiterated on Saturday its strong opposition to the appointment of current PA prime minister Salam Fayyad to head the proposed unity government.

Nizar Ramadan, a Hamas official from Hebron, was quoted over the weekend as saying that far as his movement was concerned, Fayyad was a persona non grata. He accused Fayyad of committing “many violations,” especially because he was responsible for the crackdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank.

Ramadan claimed that Fatah was also opposed to the appointment of Fayyad as head of the unity government.

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