On the eve of the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden, the heads of the Egyptian and Jordanian intelligence services on Sunday visited Ramallah, where they met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Ahmed Husni, head of the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate, and Abbas Kamel, head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, arrived unexpectedly in Ramallah at the head of delegations from their countries.
Majed Faraj, head of the PA General Intelligence Service, attended the meeting. It came two days after Abbas announced new general elections for the PA presidency, parliament and the PLO’s Palestinian National Council.
The visit of the two intelligence chiefs was within the context of ongoing coordination between the Palestinians and the two Arab countries in preparation for engaging the Biden administration, a PA official in Ramallah said.
“We have decided to resume our contacts with the US administration,” the official said. “We are optimistic about the new US administration. We are in full coordination with our Arab brothers.”
The PA leadership boycotted the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump after he announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.
Abbas briefed the two intelligence chiefs on the national reconciliation and his decree setting dates for general elections, according to the PA’s official news agency, Wafa.
The “national reconciliation” refers to efforts to end the rivalry between Abbas’s Fatah faction and Hamas.
Leaders of the two rival parties are expected to meet in Cairo in the coming days to discuss preparations for holding the long overdue elections.
Abbas hopes to rally Arab support for an international conference for peace in the Middle East within the next few months.
He also hopes Egypt and Jordan will use their influence to persuade the Biden administration to resume financial aid to the Palestinians and the United Nations Work and Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
Last Friday, Abbas issued a decree that said the election for parliament, known as the Palestinian Legislative Council, would be on May 22 and the presidential election would be on July 31.
During Sunday’s meeting, Abbas expressed gratitude at efforts made by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah to end the Fatah-Hamas rift, Wafa reported.
Sisi and Abdullah welcomed Abbas’s decision to hold elections and affirmed their support for the Palestinian issue.