Egypt’s president urges Palestinians to unite, co-exist with Israel

Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, president of Egypt, addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 20 September 2017

Egypt’s president urges Palestinians to unite, co-exist with Israel

UNITED NATIONS: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday urged Palestinians to unite and “be ready to co-exist” in peace with Israelis, in his address to the United Nations.
Speaking a day after a first meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, El-Sisi said an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal was a “necessary precondition for the entire region” to enjoy stability.
Egypt has been leading mediation efforts between Palestinian arch-rivals Fatah and Hamas as part of a push to return to the forefront of Middle East diplomacy.
Departing from his prepared remarks to the UN General Assembly, El-Sisi said he wanted to “tell the Palestinian people, it is important to unite ... to overcome the differences and to be ready to accept co-existence with the other, with Israelis, in safety and security.”
The Egyptian leader made a similar appeal to Israelis, saying that decades of Israeli-Egyptian peace could be expanded to the Palestinians to “overcome the barrier of hatred forever.”
“We can repeat this experience, this excellent step once again, together with the peace and security of the Palestinian citizens,” he said.
Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, has called for steps to kick-start Israeli-Palestinian talks that have been comatose since 2014.
In his address, Netanyahu said Israel was committed to achieving peace with all Arab countries and with the Palestinians, but he did not elaborate on how this could be achieved.
El-Sisi said “an independent Palestinian state” with east Jerusalem as its capital is “a necessary precondition for the entire region to transit into a new phase of stability and development.”
An Israeli-Palestinian peace deal would eliminate “one of the main excuses” used by terrorists in the region, he argued.
Turning to the United States where President Donald Trump has said he is pushing for negotiations, El-Sisi declared that there was an “opportunity to write a new page in history to achieve peace in this region.”
The meeting between Sissi and Netanyahu in New York on Monday followed a rare phone conversation between Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas of Fatah and Hamas chief Ismail Haniya.
Egypt has been mediating between Abbas’ internationally recognized Palestinian Authority located in the West Bank and Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
After Haniya met Egyptian officials in Cairo last week, Hamas announced it agreed to demands by Fatah to dissolve what is seen as a rival administration in Gaza, while saying it was ready for elections and negotiations to form a unity government.


Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

Updated 23 October 2020

Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

  • The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed a joint statement by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt that condemns Turkish energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and numerous “provocations” that they maintain are threatening regional peace.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “fully rejected the declaration containing baseless accusations and allegations.”
During a trilateral regional summit on Wednesday in Nicosia, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Ankara to end its “aggressive” actions.
The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations. Greece and Cyprus have signed maritime border agreements with Egypt while dismissing a similar deal that Ankara signed with Libya’s Tripoli-based government as “legally invalid.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the declaration attacked Ankara rather than supporting peace and stability in the region. It repeated Turkey’s position that cooperation could only take place with the inclusion of Turkish Cypriots in governing and sharing the resources of the ethnically divided island nation.
“We will continue with determination to protect our rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean,” the ministry statement said.
The trilateral summit took place amid high tensions between nominal NATO allies Greece and Turkey over maritime borders and energy rights.
In late summer, Turkey dispatched a research vessel escorted by warships to conduct seismic research in a part of the Mediterranean Sea that Greece claims as its territory, which prompted the Greek government to deploy its own warships.
Turkey pulled the research ship back to shore for several weeks for maintenance and to allow time for diplomacy but redeployed the Oruc Reis on a new energy exploration mission. A maritime announcement by Turkey says the Oruc Reis and two other ships would continue working in the area until Oct. 27.
Turkey also has had ships prospecting for oil and gas reserves in waters that Cyprus claims as its exclusive economic zone.