Egypt angry over Syrian protests

Palestinians in Syria protest Cairo's stance on Gaza in front of Egyptian embassy [The Media Line].

abbas mubarak 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
abbas mubarak 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry summoned the Syrian ambassador to Cairo for consultations on Tuesday to express concern about recent demonstrations outside the Egyptian embassy in Damascus. Demonstrators, who according to news reports were mostly Palestinian refugees, protested this week against the blockade on Gaza and demanded Egypt ease the plight of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Protesters called on Egypt to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, send aid to the Gazans and not give in to what they called American and Israeli pressure. Egypt insists it is making great efforts to ease the humanitarian situation in Gaza and rejects accusations from several Arab countries that it is responsible for the suffering of Gazans. Similar protests against Egypt have taken place in Lebanon, Jordan and Iran. There is already tension between Damascus and Cairo over Egypt's involvement in the internal Palestinian crisis. Egypt has been playing role of mediator in order to bring about reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. But Syria alleges that Egypt is not taking a balanced approach and is siding with Fatah. Syria, it should be noted, hosts several key Hamas leaders in exile and Arab critics accuse Syria of siding with Hamas in the conflict. The Islamist Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in June 2007, leading to a de facto rift between Gaza, which is governed by a Hamas government shunned by the international community, and the West Bank, which has a separate Western-backed government and is supported by Fatah. Cairo says any allegations of Egyptian bias in the conflict are untrue and insists it is taking an even-handed approach to the dispute.