Egypt's Sisi vows to fight for Palestinians at UN

Sisi promises Abbas he will use influence as Security Council chair to press French initiative and 'defend' the Palestinians.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Reuters

Egypt will use its influence as chair of the UN Security Council in May to defend the interests of the Palestinians, the presidency said on Monday.

The pledge, made during talks between President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, comes after France called for an international conference later this month to relaunch peace talks based on an initiative that would have Israel make massive concessions in exchange for paper promises not to attack from its Arab neighbors.

Peace talks most recently were torpedoed by the PA in April 2014 when it signed a unity deal with Hamas. But last month, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said France will host a meeting of ministers from 20 countries on May 30 to try to relaunch the peace process.

Abbas and Sisi discussed "ways of coordinating Arab efforts and the steps that need to be taken within the UN Security Council" as Egypt holds the rotating presidency of the council for the month of May, a statement said.

The two leaders said efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should be bolstered in light of regional and international initiatives, including France's decision to host a conference.

Israel has rejected the French initiative, calling for direct and unconditional negotiations as the only way forward.

Sisi's support of the PA at the UN continues the Nile state's animosity towards the Jewish state at the world body, which has continued unabated since the 1979 peace treaty between the two.

Sisi has shown signs of being more pro-Israeli, and as a result in recent years Israel has eased some of the 1979 treaty's limits on forces permitted in the Sinai, allowing Egypt to send in troops as it fights the ongoing terrorist insurgency in the Peninsula.

But Egyptian hostility has boiled up in public displays recently, such as when a leading state bank in March published currency rates for the Israeli shekel that is forbidden for use in Egypt, and as a result there was massive public backlash.

Earlier in March, 467 out of the 595 Egyptian MPs voted to dismiss MP Tawfik Okasha for the "crime" of meeting with Israel's ambassador to Egypt.

AFP contributed to this report.




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