EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER TO VISIT RAMALLAH TODAY

CAIRO, Egypt, – The Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shukri, is expected to visit Ramallah city today (Wednesday), to deliver a message to President Mahmoud Abbas from his Egyptian counterpart, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, according to a spokesperson for the Egyptian presidency.

Councillor Ahmad Abu Zaid, said in a statement that, Shukri’s visit to Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, would be centred on following up on Egypt’s support for the Palestinian cause and its facilitation of a comprehensive and just solution, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Abu Zaid added that, talks between Shukri and Abbas and additional meetings with Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riad Malki, and other Palestinian officials, would examine the results of the recent meetings in Paris, which focused on setting the framework for the upcoming Paris peace conference, while discussing future steps that can be taken, to advance peace negotiations.

The Egyptian peace initiative is focused on renewing peace negotiations, by organising direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian parties, while initiating meetings between Palestinian political factions, in an attempt to spearhead a reconciliation agreement between the groups.

The Egyptian leadership has also expressed its support for the French-led multilateral peace conference, expected to be held by the end of this year.

However, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has staunchly rejected the French initiative, as Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, earlier this month equated the multilateral initiative to a colonial project being enforced on the Middle East.

Instead, Israeli leaders have voiced their support for al-Sisi’s trilateral initiative, which would see Palestinian and Israeli leaders meeting face to face to negotiate a peace deal.

The Palestinian Authority, however, has expressed support for the French initiative, and in Apr, shelved the submission of a new anti-settlement resolution to the UN, out of fear that doing so could thwart progress of new French proposals.

Newly-appointed Israeli Minister of Defence, Avigdor Lieberman and Netanyahu issued a joint statement in May, in support of reviving the Arab Peace Initiative (API) for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which called for an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territory, in exchange for full normalisation of ties with Arab states.

Netanyahu and Lieberman also reiterated support for al-Sisi’s initiative, and threw their support behind the two-state solution.

All past efforts towards peace negotiations have failed to end the decades-long Israeli military occupation or bring Palestinians closer to an independent contiguous state.

The most recent spate of negotiations led by the US collapsed in Apr, 2014.

Israel claimed, the process failed because the Palestinians refused to accept a US framework document, outlining the way forward, while Palestinians pointed to Israel’s ongoing settlement building and the government’s refusal to release veteran prisoners.

Source: Name News Network