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Egypt: No reopening of Rafah crossing until PA unity government takes over from Hamas

June 8, 2014 09:43

Egyptian official tells Ma'an news agency that Cairo insists that Abbas reopen the presidential headquarters in the Gaza Strip.

Gazans return home via Rafah crossing

Rafah crossing 370. (photo credit:Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

Egypt would be amenable to opening the Rafah crossing between Sinai and Hamas-controlled Gaza on condition that the terminal is administered by the newly created Palestinian unity government, an Egyptian official told the Ma’an news agency on Saturday.

The official said that the Egyptian government would insist that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reopen the presidential headquarters in the Gaza Strip.

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Last week, Abbas officially introduced a new government that has the backing of both his Fatah faction and the Islamist Hamas movement.

According to Ma’an, Egypt has welcomed the inter-Palestinian reconciliation arrangement, though Cairo has warned Hamas to cease its contacts with its affiliate, the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian authorities have been cracking down on Islamist elements in the country following the military’s overthrow of former president Mohammed Morsi.

Last week, Egypt’s former army chief, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, won an overwhelming majority in national elections, catapulting him to the presidency.

Abbas traveled to Cairo on Sunday for talks with Sisi before the Palestinian leader flies to the Vatican, where Pope Francis will host an interfaith prayer with President Shimon Peres.

The Egyptians have sealed off the Rafah crossing, which is the only access point for Gazans seeking to cross international boundaries.

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