Egypt, Palestine FMs Discuss Imminent Gaza Handover

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry

Caro, MINA – Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Tuesday met with Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Malki to discuss the imminent handover of administrative responsibility for the Gaza Strip to the Ramallah-based Palestinian government.

At a meeting held on the sidelines of a two-day conference in Athens devoted to “Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East”, the two men discussed means of thwarting attempts to derail the Palestinian reconciliation process, Anadolu Ageny reported, citing a ministry statement.

Shoukry congratulated al-Malki on “achieving Palestinian national reconciliation and ending the state of division” between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah.

He also expressed hope that reconciliation would contribute to advancing the moribund Palestine-Israel peace process.

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The Egyptian FM also stressed the importance of ensuring the Ramallah government’s ability to perform its administrative responsibilities in Gaza, which for the last 10 years has been governed by Hamas.

Al-Malki, for his part, voiced his appreciation for Egypt’s role in supporting the reconciliation process.

The Palestinian FM also expressed concern over continued Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, which, he said, sought to change East Jerusalem’s historical demographic makeup.

Earlier this month, Hamas and Fatah signed a landmark reconciliation agreement in Cairo aimed at ending 10 years of bitter division.

If it holds, the agreement will allow the Fatah-led Ramallah government to assume political and administrative responsibility for the Gaza Strip. (T/RS5/RS!)

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Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)