Abbas and Egypt’s Morsi Meet in Cairo

July 18, 2012  

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas met Egypt’s newly elected president, Mohammed Morsi, in Cairo on Wednesday.

The Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported that Abbas is in Cairo for two days, coinciding with a trip to the country by Hamas head Khaled Mashaal. Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsi is a part.

Both Fatah and Hamas said their leaders were in Egypt to discuss the stalled reconciliation process between them, but it was not clear whether they would meet, Ma’an reported.

Abbas congratulated Morsi and briefed him on the latest developments in the peace process with Israel. According to the report, Abbas said Israel’s refusal to stop Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria or make any agreement was hindering a return to talks.

Abbas has repeatedly continued to demand that Israel accept the indefensible pre-1967 lines as final borders, release all Arab terrorists from its jails, and halt construction in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem for a second time before talks begin.

He recently made the same preconditions during a meeting in Paris with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad met in Jerusalem with Clinton this week, but his message was the same: no talks with Israel without preconditions.

According to Ma’an, Abbas and Morsi also discussed bilateral relations between Egypt and the PA as well as the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

Hamas and Fatah have had a longtime row since Hamas violently overthrew the Fatah government in Gaza five years ago. The two factions signed a reconciliation deal in May of 2011, but the deal has repeatedly faltered as the parties spar over its implementation.

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