Egypt FM meets Abbas, thanks him for supporting Morsi ouster

Fahmi, Abbas discuss security situation along Gaza-Egypt border in the aftermath of Morsi ouster.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini)
Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi on Monday visited Ramallah where he held talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Fahmi relayed a message from interim President Adli Mansour, who thanked the PA president for supporting the ouster of deposed President Mohamed Morsi.
In his letter, Mansour also voiced support for the PA and the Palestinians’ aspirations for independence, the official PA news agency Wafa reported.
This was Fahmi’s first visit abroad since he assumed office last month. He arrived in Ramallah aboard a Jordanian military helicopter.
Abbas and Fahmi discussed several issues, including the situation along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt in the aftermath of Morsi’s removal.
A PA official said that the Egyptians support placing the Rafah border crossing under the control of PA forces, as was the case before Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
Hamas, however, remains strongly opposed to the return of PA forces to the Rafah terminal.
Fahmi told reporters after the meeting that Egypt was seriously seeking ways of ensuring stability along the border with the Gaza Strip. He said that Egypt was hoping to reach agreement on new arrangements at the border that would facilitate the movement of Palestinians.
Fahmi added that he was concerned about deteriorating security along his country’s border with the Gaza Strip.
“When there’s stability along the border or in Sinai, this would have an impact on all the border crossings,” he added. “But we are determined to secure the border so as to avoid suffering of Palestinians.”
Following the ouster of Morsi, the Egyptians have imposed severe restrictions at the Rafah border crossing, limiting the number of Palestinians travelers in both directions.
The Egyptian army has also destroyed dozens of smuggling tunnels along the border over the past few weeks, drawing sharp criticism from Hamas and other Palestinians.
Fahmi said that he came to Ramallah to voice Egypt’s support for the Palestinians in their effort to establish an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
“The Palestinian cause will remain at the top of Egypt’s list of priorities,” Fahmi said.
PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki hailed Egypt’s support for the Palestinians and its efforts to achieve Palestinian national unity.
Malki said that Abbas expressed confidence during the meeting that Egypt would ease restrictions at the Rafah border crossing to alleviate the suffering of travelers.
Malki reiterated the PA’s opposition to any attempt to meddle in Egypt’s internal affairs – a reference to Hamas’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi.