File Photo: Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (R) listens to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) during a meeting in Cairo (Photo Courtesy of Egyptian Presidency)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said there is no alternative for direct talks between Israel and Palestine, stressing Egypt's steadfast position towards resolving the Palestinian crisis through the establishment of an independent state amid controversy over the recently announced US MidEast plan.
In a statement on Saturday, Egyptian Presidency Spokesman Bassam Rady said El-Sisi received Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, where he stressed establishing an independent state of sovereignty on occupied Palestinian lands under international legitimacy and accords.
Abbas is in Cairo to garner support from Arab foreign ministers at an Arab League meeting against the controversial Middle East plan announced by US President Donald Trump last week.
El-Sisi stressed the importance of direct negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides towards reaching an agreed settlement under a comprehensive framework that guarantees its sustainability.
Such a settlement would put an end to the sufferings of the Palestinian people through the full restoration of its legitimate rights and preserves the rights of all parties to live in stability, security and peace, El-Sisi said.
Abbas expressed his appreciation of Egypt's efforts in supporting the Palestinian cause, praising its historic role in pushing towards a comprehensive and fair solution for the cause.
He also hailed Egypt's role in pushing towards a national reconciliation in Palestine, and building bridges of trust between Palestinian parties for unification at such a critical period.
Both presidents agreed during Saturday's meeting on continued and intensified coordination and consultation towards various aspects of the Palestinian cause, the statement added.
Last week, Trump unveiled the peace proposal, which would allow Israel to annex all its West Bank settlements, which the Palestinians and most of the international community view as illegal, as well as the Jordan Valley, which accounts for roughly a fourth of the West Bank.
In return, the Palestinians would be granted statehood in Gaza, scattered chunks of the West Bank and some neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Jerusalem, all linked together by a new network of roads, bridges and tunnels. Israel would control the state's borders and airspace and maintain overall security authority.
The proposal was criticised by several countries, yet several key Arab leaders, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and others, backed the US initiative in a surprising shift in foreign policy towards the Palestinian cause.
Egypt has called on both parties involved in the peace process in the Middle East to “carefully consider” the proposal, urging parties to open channels for dialogue to resume negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis where they can discuss their visions under US patronage to reach a comprehensive and fair peace agreement.