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Egypt 'already recognizes' Palestinian state

Nov. 18, 2009 11:57 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 19, 2009 2:25 P.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Egypt already recognizes a Palestinian state, the country’s Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Gheit said on Wednesday.

Aboul Gheit said that Egypt recognized the Palestinian state declared by the PLO in 1988, and what remains to be determined is “how that state would be defined.”

The statement came amid a raging debate about the possibility that the Palestinian Authority could seek UN recognition of a unilaterally-declared state as an alternative to years of failed US-brokered talks with Israel.

Aboul Gheit also noted that he received the credentials of the new ambassador of the declared state of Palestine.

The foreign minister also denied reports that Egypt has any specific plans to renew its mediation in talks between disparate Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah.

Commenting on reports that Egypt would invite the two parties to Cairo after the Eid Al-Adha holiday, he said, “This is not accurate, all what we said in the meeting of the Arab peace initiative last Thursday was that Egypt will consider retrying the talks after the feast [Eid Al-Adha] and by the beginning of 2010.”

The minister added that Egypt would continue efforts to restore Palestinian unity, without which, he said, a state cannot exist.

He also reiterated an implicit criticism of Hamas for holding up a unity deal. “We should take into consideration that President Mahmoud Abbas signed the reconciliation paper but the rest haven’t yet.” And he confirmed: “the Egyptian resolution will not be modified.”

Aboul Gheit added that Egypt will keep its efforts up to rejoin the Palestinians because without unity a state cannot exist adding: “we should take into consideration that President Mahmoud Abbas signed the reconciliation paper but the rest haven’t yet.”

The Egyptian minister also confirmed that Egypt refuses to attend a planned meeting of foreign ministers of the Union of the Mediterranean because of the planned presence of Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman.

“Lots of meetings are being held and will be held in the near future. The Arab Foreign Ministers do not want to meet with the Israeli foreign minister since his attitudes are still going in a strict way which allows no opportunity for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement.”

New ambassador

Palestine’s new ambassador to Egypt, Barakat Al-Farra, Farra submitted his credentials on Tuesday to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Mubarak welcomed the new ambassador and expressed his hope that Palestine will soon enjoy liberty and independence.

Al-Farra said, “It is an honor for me to represent my country in Egypt whose name has always been known for sacrifices, heroism, martyrs, and support for the Palestinian people.”

He also reiterated his commitment to President Abbas’ directives seeking fair treatment of Palestinians in Egypt without regard to their political affiliation.

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