Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas in the Egyptian capital Cairo on November 8.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will arrive in Cairo Friday for talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in advance of next week’s launch of a new Frenchled peace initiative.
Neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis have been invited to the first phase of the process, in which more than 20 ministers will gather in Paris to discuss ways to jump-start negotiations that have been frozen for more than two years.
“Abbas will visit Cairo to participate in the exceptional meeting of Arab foreign ministers that will be held at the Arab League’s headquarters on Saturday,” PA ambassador to Cairo, Jamal Shubaki said.
According to the Palestinian envoy, Abbas will update Arab foreign ministers on the recent developments of the Palestinian issue and meet with the Arab League’s Secretary General Nabil Arabi. Abbas is expected to arrive in Egypt following a visit to South Africa.
Abbas’s arrival in Cairo closely follows a visit by an Israel Foreign Ministry delegation, which the ministry said was there for a routine meeting with their counterparts.
The Palestinian news agency Ma’an speculated that Israeli officials were in Cairo Tuesday hoping to organize a tripartite meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abbas and Sisi ahead of the June 3 meeting in Paris. Israel has denied this report.
According to a Channel 10 report aired earlier this week, moderate Arab governments in the region have communicated to Netanyahu their willingness to engage in negotiations with Israel over possible changes to a 2002 Arab peace initiative so it may serve as the agreed-upon basis of renewed talks with the Palestinians.
Arab regimes led by Egypt and the wealthy Gulf sheikdoms have signaled their desire to publicly change their posture toward Israel, Channel 10 added.
But, according to Channel 2, Sisi, who had called out equally to Israelis and Palestinians to make peace, is strengthening his ties with Abbas now that Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman has joined the government as defense mister.