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Abbas seeks Egypt role in supervising reconciliation

June 5, 2014 12:57 P.M. (Updated: June 7, 2014 9:47 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas will seek to secure an Egyptian role in supervising reconciliation with Hamas in an upcoming trip to Cairo to attend President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi's inauguration.

"We need to discuss with the Egyptians the future role of Egypt in sponsoring the implementation of the reconciliation agreement," Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad told Ma'an late Wednesday.

Egypt played a significant role mediating reconciliation in the past, al-Ahmad said, hosting a 2011 meeting between factions which laid the groundwork for the recent unity government.

Under the Cairo Agreement, security arrangements for the West Bank and Gaza were to be made through a committee of Arab experts headed by Egypt that would eventually "unite security services" in both territories, al-Ahmad said.

New arrangements are also being studied for the Rafah crossing with American and European coordination and Rami Hamdallah met with European diplomats on Wednesday to discuss changes at the terminal, the Fatah official added.

A 2005 agreement stipulates that there must be European observers and Israeli surveillance at the crossing.

"We hope the crossing will be run by Palestinians only, but we will listen to all points of view," al-Ahmad said.

Egypt, which was once close to Hamas, has grown hostile to the movement after the Egyptian military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Last year, an Egyptian court banned Hamas and ordered the seizure of the groups assets.
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