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Egypt 'willing' to re-open Rafah crossing permanently

June 7, 2014 7:28 A.M. (Updated: June 9, 2014 10:06 A.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- A top Egyptian official said Saturday that Egypt was willing to permanently open the Rafah crossing under the condition that it would be supervised by the national unity government.

The official said that Egypt would request that President Mahmoud Abbas re-open the presidential headquarters in the Gaza Strip.

According to the official, who spoke to Ma'an on condition of anonymity, Egyptian authorities have welcomed the commitment of Hamas toward reconciliation which, for Cairo, facilitates cooperation with Hamas.

However, the official said Hamas must remain separate from the Muslim Brotherhood and not interfere in Egyptian matters.

The Egyptian president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi strongly backs the national unity government will not prevent permanently opening Rafah as long as it is directed by the "legal" Palestinian authorities, the official said.

A meeting in Egypt between Sisi and Abbas will consider "real promises" for opening the crossing and organizing Egyptian-Palestinian cooperation now that reconciliation has succeeded, the official concluded.

The Rafah crossing is the principal connection between Gaza's 1.7 million people and the outside world, but Egypt maintains it tightly shut as part of the jointly-enforced Israeli blockade.

The Gaza Strip suffers from widespread shortages and recurrent humanitarian crises as a result of the siege, which has been in place since 2007.
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