Egypt refuses to receive Mishal until Hamas signs Egyptian proposal

January 19, 2010
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Egypt is refusing to receive Hamas leader Khalid Mishal until Hamas signs the Egyptian proposal for reconciliation between Palestinians, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported.

Cairo has already informed reconciliation brokers in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait about its non-readiness to welcome Mishal, stressing that it has no objection to receiving a delegation from Hamas to sign the Egyptian document “as it is and without amendments”, Al Jareeda said.

On Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he would not meet Mishal unless Hamas signed the Egypt-brokered reconciliation offer.

Mishal - Abbas (Shoorouk)

The rejection stances by Egypt and Abbas were made following remarks by Kuwait’s foreign minister that his country was working on a reconciliation meeting between the Palestinian rivals.

“We expect to be able to hold a reconciliation meeting shortly between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the head of Hamas’ politburo Khalid Mishal on the basis of the paper agreed upon in Cairo,” Shaikh Mohammad Al Sabah said on Sunday. The meeting should take place within 10 days, the minister told Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas.

Both Abbas and Mishal have recently visited Kuwait and met its Amir, Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

An Egyptian newspaper on Sunday quoting unnamed Syrian diplomats ruled out a meeting “in the near future” between Abbas and Mishal despite the Kuwaiti statement.

“The Egyptian veto on any meeting between Abbas and Mishal before Hamas signs the Palestinian reconciliation document will not allow it to go ahead despite efforts from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia,” Al Shourouk said, adding that the Syrian sources were highly knowledgeable about the Hamas dossier in Damascus.

Last week, Mishal, seeking to defuse the tension with Egypt, said that “there are no problems between Egypt and Hamas.”

“I am ready to visit Egypt immediately, if the brothers in Egypt welcome me,” he said.

Egypt had sponsored six sessions of in-depth national Palestinian dialogue. However, Hamas charged that the Egyptian offer later included articles that had not been agreed on during the series of talks in Cairo.

But on Sunday, Egyptian President Mohammad Hosni Mubarak denied the claims and insisted that Egypt was not “imposing anything on anyone.”

“The Palestinians have drafted the reconciliation document and all the allegations that Egypt made amendments on the agreements reached by Fateh and Hamas are blatant lies. They have all endorsed the document and there was an agreement on the request by Hamas to postpone the elections from January to June,” Mubarak said.

Relations between Egypt and Hamas have often been strained, but have deteriorated following news that Cairo was building an underground steel wall along its border with the Gaza Strip ruled by Hamas.

The fatal shooting of an Egyptian border guard during a protest on the Gazan side of the border this month caused relations to slump to their lowest point.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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