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Abbas to meet Monsour in Cairo to discuss peace talks, reconciliation

Dec. 20, 2013 11:24 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 20, 2013 7:06 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will be traveling to Cairo Friday and will meet with Egyptian President Adly Monsour Saturday, officials said.

Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Barakat al-Farra said that Abbas and Monsour will discuss the US-brokered negotiations with Israel and the latest developments in the region.

Abbas will also meet with various Arab foreign ministers to discuss the status of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, al-Farra said.

PLO leader Muhammad Shtayyeh said Thursday that Abbas would tell Arab foreign ministers that talks with Israel "are in serious impasse."

Al-Farra added that Abbas and Monsour would discuss Palestinian national reconciliation with Hamas, an offshoot of the Egyptian-founded Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt has severely restricted the Gaza Strip's access to the international world in recent months as it has kept the Rafah crossing between the two countries closed with only sporadic exceptions.

Until July of this year, tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt provided a vital lifeline for the territory amidst the otherwise crippling Israeli blockade on the Palestinian coastal enclave.

Throughout Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi's presidency, the situation had greatly improved, as the tunnels to Egypt witnessed a brisk trade following the Egyptian Revolution. Since the military coup against Morsi in July, however, Egypt has strictly enforced the blockade and targeted the tunnels.
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