Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met in Ramallah on Monday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the latest developments in the region, including Israel’s intention to apply its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, Palestinian officials said.
Shoukry’s visit to Ramallah was also related to growing tensions between Egypt and Turkey over the civil war in Libya, the officials said.
Egypt was seeking the backing of the Palestinians and other Arab countries in its conflict with Turkey, they added.
Some PA officials had expressed concern over Egypt’s purported failure to fully support the Palestinians in their standoff with Israel and the US administration.
Turkey has been providing military aid to the United Nations-recognized Libyan Government of National Accord, while Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia have backed the government’s rivals in eastern Libya led by General Khalifa Haftar.
The Egyptians have expressed deep concern over Turkey’s military intervention in Libya, saying Ankara’s actions pose an imminent threat to Egypt’s national security.
Earlier this month, the Egyptian army launched a large-scale military exercise near the border with Libya amid increased indications that Cairo was preparing for military intervention in the North African nation.
Egypt’s parliament was set to vote on Monday to authorize President Abdel Fattah Sisi to deploy troops to Libya if the Turkey-backed government forces move to recapture the strategic coastal city of Sirte.
Last week, Sisi warned that Egypt will “not stand idly by in the face of moves that pose a direct threat to security.”
An official statement by the PA president’s office did not mention the Egypt-Turkey crisis.
Instead, the statement said Abbas briefed Shoukry on “the latest developments regarding the Palestinian issue and diplomatic efforts to rally worldwide support for the Palestinian position, which aims to prevent Israel from carrying out annexation plans.”
On Sunday, Sisi phoned Abbas and expressed “Egypt’s support for the Palestinian people and their just cause and for the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas,” according to Wafa, the PA’s official news agency.
The phone call is also said to be related to Egypt’s effort to gain the backing of the Palestinians in its standoff with Turkey.
The Egyptian president affirmed his country’s support for reaching a just solution to the Palestinian issue on the basis of international resolutions and its rejection of any unilateral solutions that are in contradiction with international law, Wafa reported.
On Sunday, Shoukry visited Jordan, where he met separately with King Abdullah and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.
“Discussions addressed the importance of maintaining coordination and consultation on issues of mutual concern, in line with shared interests and in service of Arab causes,” the Jordanian news agency Petra reported. “Moreover, the meeting touched on regional developments, foremost of which is the Palestinian cause.”
King Abdullah “reaffirmed Jordan’s steadfast position and the need to achieve a comprehensive and just peace, based on the two-state solution, guaranteeing the establishment of an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as its capital,” the report said.
“The King reiterated that any unilateral Israeli measure to annex lands in the West Bank is unacceptable, as it would undermine the prospects of achieving peace and stability in the region,” it added, noting that the talks “also focused on efforts to reach political solutions to regional crises.”
Safadi said in addition to the Israeli annexation plan, he discussed with Shoukry the latest developments in Libya.
“All of us are concerned about the trajectory of things,” Safadi said. “The regionalization of the Libyan crisis would make things harder and more complex. Subsequently, we support all efforts exerted in reaching a political solution that would ensure Libya’s unity and territorial integrity, as well as stand in the way of turning Libya into an arena for regional conflicts.”