(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Under the auspices of Egyptian authorities, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Cairo on Monday with Ramadan Shallah, secretary- general of the Islamic Jihad organization, and his deputy, Ziad Nakhleh.
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The PA, meanwhile, announced that Spain has decided to recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines before September.
The meeting between Abbas and the Syrian-based Islamic Jihad leaders dealt with ways of consolidating Palestinian national reconciliation, a PA official said.
The two sides also discussed the PA security crackdown on Islamic Jihad
operatives and supporters in the West Bank, the official said.
Islamic Jihad has condemned the ongoing crackdown and urged the PA to
release all its members, especially in wake of the Hamas-Fatah
reconciliation accord that was reached in Cairo three weeks ago.
Under the former regime of Hosni Mubarak, Islamic Jihad leaders and members were unwelcome in Egypt.
An Islamic Jihad official said the talks also focused on ways of
“confronting future challenges and Israeli threats.” He described the
meeting with Abbas as positive and thorough.
Abbas, who arrived in Cairo, also held talks with Gen. Hussein Tantawi,
head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and briefed him on the
latest developments surrounding the stalled Middle East peace process.
Abbas also briefed Tantawi on the outcome of the emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Qatar last weekend.
The ministers voiced their backing for Abbas’s plan to ask the United
Nations in September to recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines.
In a related development, PA negotiator Nabil Sha’ath announced on
Monday that Spain was planning to recognize the Palestinian state before
Sha’ath’s announcement came after he met in Ramallah with Spanish Consul-General Alfonso Portable.
Sha’ath said the PA was pursuing its efforts to secure additional backing and international recognition for the statehood bid.
He said the Spanish diplomat stressed that his country would support making the state of Palestine a member of the UN.
Sha’ath said he was planning to visit Armenia, Moldavia, the
Philippines, Mexico and Columbia to persuade these governments to
support the statehood bid in September.