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Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs set to visit Ramallah on Wednesday

June 28, 2016 9:23 P.M. (Updated: June 29, 2016 12:33 P.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Samih Shukri is expected to visit the city of Ramallah on Wednesday to deliver a message to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on behalf of his Egyptian counterpart President Abd al Fattah al-Sisi, according to a spokesperson for the Egyptian presidency.

Ahmad Abu Zaid said in a statement that Shukri’s visit to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank would be centered on following up on Egypt’s support for the Palestinian cause and its facilitation of a comprehensive and just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Abu Zaid added that talks between Shukri and Abbas, in addition to meetings with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki, and other Palestinian officials, would examine the results of the recent meetings in Paris, which focused on setting the framework for the upcoming Paris peace conference, while discussing future steps that could be taken to advance peace negotiations.

The Egyptian peace talk proposal is focused on renewing peace negotiations by organizing direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian parties, while initiating meetings between Palestinian political factions in an attempt to spearhead a reconciliation agreement between Palestinian groups.

The Egyptian leadership has also expressed its support for the French-led multilateral peace conference expected to be held by the end of this year.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has staunchly rejected the French initiative, as Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Dore Gold earlier this month equated the multilateral initiative to a colonial project being enforced on the Middle East.

Instead, Israeli leaders have voiced their support for al-Sisi’s trilateral initiative which would see Palestinian and Israeli leaders meeting face to face to negotiate a peace deal.

The Palestinian Authority, however, has expressed support for the French initiative, and in April shelved the submission of a new anti-settlement resolution to the UN out of fear that doing so could thwart progress of new French proposals.

Newly-appointed Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman and Netanyahu issued a joint statement in May in support of reviving the Arab Peace Initiative (API) for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which called for an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territory in exchange for full normalization of ties with Arab states.

Netanyahu and Lieberman also reiterated support for al-Sisi's initiative, and threw their support behind the two-state solution.

All past efforts towards peace negotiations have failed to end the decades-long Israeli military occupation or bring Palestinians closer to an independent contiguous state.

The most recent spate of negotiations led by the US collapsed in April 2014.

Israel claimed the process failed because the Palestinians refused to accept a US framework document outlining the way forward, while Palestinians pointed to Israel's ongoing settlement building and the government's refusal to release veteran prisoners.
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