Thursday, 7 April 2011

Egypt FM: Gaza a priority in Egypt foreign policy

[ 06/04/2011 - 06:38 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Nabil al-Arabi, who was named foreign minister after Egyptian revolution has confirmed that issues concerning Gaza are a priority to Egypt's foreign policy.

”We consider the situation in the Gaza Strip a priority for Egypt, especially since what has happened there is unacceptable in terms of human rights,” Mr. Arabi said during a joint press release with Austrian foreign minister Michael Spindelegger Tuesday night in Cairo.

”We are now working to establish a method to deal with those situations. Those committees could finalize works this weekend. We are discussing this issue with all sectors of the state in Egypt,” he said.

Arabi said that Egypt also has strong interest in Palestinian reconciliation and has contacted both Hamas and Fatah to discuss it. He added that Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to visit Egypt on Wednesday to discuss all issues pending reconciling with Hamas. He had already met with a delegation from Hamas last week.

Arabi met Wednesday morning with independent figures in Palestine in a delegation headed by Dr. Yasser al-Wadia and held talks about Palestinian unity and the future of Palestinian issues in light of current developments in the Arab world.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian coalition to break the siege and rebuild Gaza was turned back by officials as it tried to get ten tons of cement into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah land port on the border with Egypt.

The coalition had clinched a deal in March with the British Aloha Palestine to import the cement to Gaza as the first formal deal to bring building materials into Gaza through Egypt. The deal came after European activists successfully got the first back of cement through the border crossing.

Based on the agreement, Aloha Palestine was responsible for transporting the goods according to Egyptian commercial laws, while the coalition's part was to place popular pressure in order to get permission for the trucks to enter.

After two weeks of stay in the El-Arish city near the border, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, to whom power was shifted in Egypt, rejected repeated requests and mediation to bring in the building supplies needed in a war torn and besieged Gaza Strip. They were forced to leave the city after incurring heavy losses.

The coalition promised after the January 25 revolution in Egypt to meet with the new Egyptian foreign miniser Arabi and the the Supreme Council to brief them on the deal and ask for ease in bringing in the goods and arranging for larger future deals that would widen horizons for the economies of Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

The Camp David accords that Egypt has signed with Israel has prohibited Egypt from using the Rafah crossing for commercial purposes.

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