(photo credit: reuters)
For the first time since Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president of Egypt,
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to visit Cairo on
Wednesday for talks with Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, head of the Higher Council of
the Egyptian Armed Forces.
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Abbas’s planned visit to Cairo comes as PA
officials announced that they were considering seeking “international
trusteeship” over an independent Palestinian state that is declared on the pre-
Abbas’s talks in Cairo would focus on the status of the peace
process with Israel and efforts to achieve reconciliation between his Fatah
faction and Hamas, PA envoy to Egypt, Barakat al-Farra, announced.
maintained a very close relationship with Mubarak and the two met in Cairo only
a few days before the popular uprising in Egypt began earlier this
This would be the first time that the PA president visits Egypt
without meeting with Mubarak.
Last week, the Egyptians played host to top
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar, who also discussed with representatives of the new
government the prospects for ending the dispute between his movement and
Abbas’s two-day visit follows talks between senior Fatah and PA
officials with Egyptian government officials.
The officials who were
dispatched by Abbas to Cairo in recent weeks included Tayeb Abdel Rahim, Sakher
Bsaiso, Nabil Sha’ath and Azzam al-Ahmed.
A PA official in Ramallah
expressed concern over the recent rapprochement between Egypt and
The official pointed out that the PA leadership was particularly
concerned about reports that the Egyptian government was considering reopening
the Rafah border crossing into the Gaza Strip without consulting with the
The Egyptians are also reported to have agreed to Hamas’s demand to
reopen the Egyptian embassy in Gaza City – a move the PA fears would
“legitimize” Hamas’s control over the Gaza Strip.
Al-Farra said that
Abbas would brief Tantawi on the details of his initiative to visit the Gaza
Strip for talks with Hamas leaders on the formation of a new Palestinian
government that would prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections.
Nimer Hammad, political advisor to Abbas, said that the PA president’s talks
would also focus on scenarios facing the Palestinians next September, when they
plan to ask the UN Security Council to recognize a state on the pre-1967
Hammad said that the PA leadership was now considering various
options as to what it should do in September if the peace talks with Israel
He said that one of the options includes calling for international
trusteeship over the Palestinian territories. He added that the PA was
optimistic about the position of the Quartet members – the US, EU, Russia and
the UN – regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state on the pre- 1967
lines. The Quartet is expected to meet in Mid-April to assess the status of the
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Hammad said that with the exception of
the US, the rest of the Quartet members recognized the 1967 lines as the borders
of a future Palestinian state.
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