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Al-Sisi tells Palestinians peace opportunity not to be wasted - Daily News Egypt

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Al-Sisi tells Palestinians peace opportunity not to be wasted

Upcoming Cairo meeting to push forward Palestinian reconciliation as Palestinian cabinet convenes in Gaza for first time since 2014

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi asserted once more Egypt’s support to the unity of the Palestinian people as the government of national unity convened in Gaza for the first time since 2014.

Praising the Palestinian reconciliation that Egypt sponsored, the president said Tuesday that “history will hold accountable those who waste opportunities to achieve peace.” He added that there is a real chance to implement peace in the region and that there must be cooperation to ensure “Palestine’s seriousness towards it.”

The message follows a previous urge to Palestinians to unite and co-exist with Israel, which the Egyptian president had conveyed during his speech before the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 72) in New York in September.

The director of the Egyptian General Intelligence, Khaled Fawzy, delivered Al-Sisi’s recorded video message to Palestinian cabinet members in Gaza.

An Egyptian official delegation followed up and attended a Monday meeting between Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh with the presence of the director of the Palestinian General Intelligence in the West Bank, Maged Farag, Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) official website reported.

Pressing issues facing citizens in the Gaza Strip are expected to be soon discussed in an upcoming meeting in Cairo, Spokesperson of the Palestinian Authority Youssef Al-Mahmoud said in a Tuesday press conference after the government convened in Gaza for the first time since 2014.

Amid ongoing steps to develop the recently achieved Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, Al-Mahmoud said the government would review reports on electricity, water, and infrastructure needs in the Gaza Strip, as well as security challenges and border-crossing issues.

Hamas issued a statement Tuesday, published by Spokesperson Hazem Kassem, saying it “gave its blessings” to the arrival of the unity government to Gaza to fully assume its role, adding that it was looking forward to meeting in Cairo.

Hamas promised the government will face no obstacles, while Hamdallah stressed strong will to end years of separation.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in televised interviews with the Egyptian media prior to the meeting that the stabilisation of the government in Gaza is an indicator of the on-ground implementation of the reconciliation.

In the statements, Abbas outlined the conditions surrounding the success of the reconciliation process, on top of which comes that arms should be under the control of one body in alignment with one united government.

Abbas said that ideology differences with Hamas being an Islamic group do not rule out them being part of the Palestinian people but that they will have to abide by the PLO’s system.

“I will not have another version of Hezbollah in Lebanon,” he stated.

Abbas said that he will oppose foreign interference with the country’s affairs, with the exception of Egypt, asserting that Palestine is part of Egypt’s national security.

In mid-September, after several rounds of talks in Cairo, Hamas dissolved its Administrative Committee in Gaza, a decision that was welcomed internally and internationally.

Also interviewed by Egyptian TV, Haniyeh said he hoped the government of unity would put end to the suffering in Gaza. He also said it was clear Egypt was politically determined to fully achieve Palestinian reconciliation.

Haniyeh had visited Cairo in his first official visit since his election in September to discuss easing the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The group had come under Egyptian crackdown after the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013 due to weapon smuggling through tunnels amid an increased militant presence in Sinai.

Hamas had previously agreed to create a fortified isolated zone on the border with Egypt and said the project was under implementation, asserting their keenness to protect Egypt’s national security and interests.

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