Egypt's Sisi stresses need to move Palestinian reconciliation forward in call with Abbas

Ahram Online , Monday 19 Mar 2018

El-Sisi, Abbas
File Photo: Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (R) and Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas (L) (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stressed over a phone call with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Monday that efforts towards Palestinian reconciliation should move forward, Egyptian presidency spokesperson Bassam Rady said in a statement.

El-Sisi told his counterpart that it is necessary to "work on containing any disagreements and to overcome all difficulties that hinder these efforts, in order to achieve the unity and the interests of the brotherly Palestinian people," the statement reads.

A top Egyptian security delegation visited the Palestinian Gaza Strip in late February to follow up on the implementation of a political reconciliation agreement between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah.

Negotiations between the two main Palestinian factions, brokered by Egyptian intelligence, led to the inking of an agreement in October to end the 10-year-old row between the two groups.

However, implementation of the agreement has since suffered setbacks, including an exchange of accusations of non-commitment to the deal brokered by Egypt.

From his side, Abbas expressed his sincere appreciation for Egypt's efforts and stance towards the Palestinian cause, which "reflects the deep and special relations between Egypt and Palestine," Rady added.

Hamas and Fatah agreed to hand over control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing to a unity government as part of the deal.

The Rafah border crossing lies on the border between Egypt's Sinai and the Gaza Strip.

It is the main gateway to the outside world for 1.8 million Palestinians living in Israeli-besieged Gaza, and is the only crossing point not controlled by Israel.

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