Abbas in Cairo to begin reconciliation efforts 7Apr11 April 8, 2011

Ma’an News Agency -  7 April 2011

Active contacts between Palestine and the new Egyptian regime resumed in Cairo Thursday, following the arrival of President Mahmoud Abass to the capital.

Abbas will meet with Egyptian General Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, and head of the interim military council ruling the nation following the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Palestinian Ambassador in Cairo Barakat Al-Farra said Abbas will meet with General Tantawi to discuss Palestinian reconciliation, as well as other developments in the Palestinian arena.

Abbas will also meet with Egypt’s Prime Minister Issam Sharaf and with Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League.

The president met early Thursday with a delegation of independent figures who gathered in Cairo last week as part of a non-affiliated movement to pressure an end to Palestinian internal division.

Following the meeting, delegation leader Yaser Wadieyah said Abbas’ plans to go to Gaza and push a unity deal were still in process, praising the efforts.

“All issues were discussed in a very responsible and honest way,” the official said, adding that the president contextualized his recent unity efforts within the stalled peace process and current diplomatic efforts to gain Palestinian recognition. “With the state of things, it is now more important than ever to end division,” Wadieyah said, citing the deteriorating conditions in Gaza.

Hamas-affiliated website Palestine Information Center said Thursday that Abbas’ trip came as Egypt set to invite Hamas leaders to Cairo, including leader in exile Khalid Mash’al.

Before the meeting, the news site noted, businessman Munib Al-Masri and a delegation of the reconciliation committee he chairs would be invited to Cairo, followed by Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah.


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