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Egypt's FM discusses peace efforts with Tony Blair

Talks focused on Gaza Strip, Israeli-Palestinian peace process

Ahram Online, Sunday 23 Nov 2014
Tony Blair With Sameh Shoukry
Egypt`s Foreign Minister Sameh Shouky meeting with Quarter representative to the Middle East Tony Blair on November 23, 2014 for Middle east peace talks (Handout Photo provided by Egyptian Foreign ministry)
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Egypt's foreign affairs minister, Sameh Shoukry, met on Sunday with Tony Blair, former UK prime minister and Middle East representative for The Quartet, to discuss ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the latest developments in the region.

The Quartet – established in 2002 to help mediate peace negotiations in the Middle East – is made up of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia.

According to a statement from the Egyptian foreign ministry, Blair and Shoukry discussed ongoing efforts concerning the Palestinian cause and the economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

A 50-day Israeli offensive against the coastal enclave – which ended in August with an Egypt-brokered ceasefire – left over 2,000 Palestinians dead and more than 12,000 injured. Over 100,000 Palestinians were displaced from the conflict, with about 57,000 living in communal shelters.

Tensions between Israeli and Palestinian factions flared again last week, when two Palestinians with a gun and axes burst into a Jerusalem synagogue and killed four Israelis before being shot dead.

Meanwhile, Shoukry briefed Blair on Egypt's efforts to prevent any further violence in the strip, said Badr Abdel-Ati, a spokesman for Egypt's foreign ministry.

The two officials also discussed efforts to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace talks according to agreed-upon international references, Abdel-Ati said.

Shoukry stressed the importance of establishing an independent Palestinian state throughout the national territory, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In an interview with an Italian newspaper on Sunday, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that he would be prepared to send troops to a future Palestinian state to help stabilise it.

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