Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Cairo on Sunday afternoon for an official visit in which he is scheduled to meet with a number of Egyptian officials to discuss the latest tension in Gaza, the Ma’an news agency reports.
According to Ma’an, upon his arrival in Egypt Abbas briefed Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on the latest developments in the region, namely what was described as “ongoing Israeli settlement expansion” and the absence of any political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the horizon.
Abbas said that an international peace conference had become a necessity in order to create a “suitable mechanism to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state.”
Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss means to push the peace process forward, according to Ma'an.
France has announced a peace initiative, as part of which an international summit has been announced for May 30, in which ministers from 20 countries will prepare an international summit in the second half of 2016, which would include Israeli and PA leaders.
Back in January the French initiative was announced, and Paris threatened to unilaterally recognize the "state of Palestine" if the talks failed. But the new French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault backtracked on the threat in March, saying France would not “automatically” recognize a Palestinian state if its initiative fails.
In light of the French attempt to pressure Israel, the PA recently announced that its push for a UN resolution demanding an end to "Israeli settlement expansion" will be put on hold in order to focus instead on the French proposal.
But Israel has rejected the initiative, saying it “adheres to its position that the best way to a solution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is direct bilateral negotiations.”