Abbas in Cairo to Discuss Netanyahu Letter

May 19, 2012  

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday met with Egypt’s Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi in Cairo in order to discuss the letter of response sent to Abbas by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he stated his position on renewing talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Abbas’ original letter was delivered to Netanyahu by Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Palestinian intelligence chief Majed Faraj during a meeting in Jerusalem.

In the letter, Abbas wrote: “The Palestinian Authority has lost its reason d’être,” warning that the situation cannot persist. “Following the government of Israel’s continuance policies, the Palestinian Authority has no real power or jurisdiction over political, economic, social, security or territorial matters.”

Earlier, the PLO Executive Committee said Netanyahu’s response to Abbas’ letter did not adequately address issues of major contention such as settlement construction and borders, and called on the Middle East Quartet to take action in order to move ahead with the peace process.

During their meeting, Abbas and Tantawi discussed the issue of settlement construction in the West Bank, as well as Israel’s blockade in the Gaza Strip and security arrangements along the border between Israel and Egypt.

According to Egyptian media outlets, Abbas thanked Tantawi for Egypt’s solidarity with the Palestinians, and the central role it played in mediating the agreement to end the hunger strike staged by Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.

The two leaders also discussed the reconciliation talks held between the Palestinian factions and forming a new Palestinian government. Chief Erekat and other Fatah officials, including Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina, also attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that Palestinian officials from Hamas and Fatah are scheduled to meet in Cairo next week in order to accelerate the establishment of a Palestinian unity government.

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