Confusion about Hamas leader’s visit to Cairo

January 21, 2010

Khalid Mishal (Guardian)


Conflicting reports about a possible visit by Hamas leader Khalid Mesha’al to Egypt and an alleged attempt by Libya to broker a compromise between rival Palestinian factions have deepened the mystery about crucial reconciliations a few weeks before the Arab summit is held. The fast-pace action from several parties was prompted by a statement on Saturday from Kuwait’s foreign minister highlighting his country’s efforts to organise a meeting between Mesha’al and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo within ten days. Reacting to news of the possible meeting, the Egyptians revealed that they had told Arab capitals that they would not receive Mesha’al unless Hamas signs the Egyptian proposal for reconciliation between Palestinians. Adopting a similar stance, Abbas insisted that there would be no meeting between the rival leaders until Hamas signed the Egypt-brokered reconciliation offer. Ruled out The meeting was also ruled out in a report carried by an Egyptian newspaper on Sunday quoting unnamed Syrian diplomats. “The Egyptian veto on any meeting between Abbas and Mesha’al 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. However, on Tuesday, a Qatari newspaper reported that Mesha’al would visit Cairo this week. The Hamas leader last week said that there were no problems between Egypt and Hamas and that he was ready to visit Egypt immediately, “if the brothers in Egypt welcome me,” Quoting well-informed sources that it did not name, Al Sharq daily said that Mesha’al’s visit would be to apologise to Cairo for the killing of an Egyptian soldier during a protest on the Gazan side of the border this month and to discuss the latest developments on the Egyptian reconciliation documents. Mesha’al is expected to meet Egypt’s foreign minister and head of intelligence, the daily said. However, a Palestinian newspaper, Al Quds, reported that Palestinian sources denied media reports that Mesha’al had been invited to Cairo, but did not say who issued the denial. In London, Asharq Al Awsat said that Libya, the next host of the Arab League summit, had contacted Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah, to help end the rift. Strained relations Relations between Egypt and Hamas have often been strained, but have dramatically 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 brought relations to their lowest point. Egypt had sponsored six sessions of in-depth national Palestinian dialogue. A Hamas charge that the latest Egyptian offer included articles that had not been agreed on during the Cairo talks was strongly rejected by Mubarak as “blatant lies.”



About the author

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

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