CAIRO: The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) announced Wednesday morning its “utter refusal” to the visit of the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Egypt on its official Facebook page.
Kerry arrived in Cairo Tuesday in a bid to discuss brokering a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and held a meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. In joint remarks with his counterparty Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Kerry said he was in Cairo at the request of U.S. President Obama to “immediately try to find a way to support Egypt’s initiative [for a cease-fire.]”
Kerry reiterated the U.S. position of “support for Israel’s right of self-defense,” and called for a return to the 2012 cease-fire.
Since the beginning of the Israeli Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip July 8 more than 600 Palestinians, including civilians and dozens of children, have been killed according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, and an estimated 29 Israelis have been killed, Haaretz reported.
The NASL was launched after the military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi July 3, 2013, in solidarity with the former president, and many of its prominent leaders have been arrested by the Egyptian authorities, most recently Magdy Qurur, the groups former spokesperson accused of inciting violence and arrested in early July, 2014.
The Egyptian ceasefire initiative halts “the Zionist collapse,” and “is a continuation of aggression against humanity,” the group said.
The Morsi administration was seen by some as friendly to Hamas, and soon following his ouster, the Egyptian military began a campaign against alleged militants in North Sinai, close to the border with Gaza, and has actively targeted and destroyed a number of tunnels used to smuggle goods across the border.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also met with Kerry during his visit in Cairo, following a visit to Qatar.
Ban departed Egypt Tuesday for Israel, and Kerry arrived Wednesday to discuss the ongoing conflict.
After 8 days of military operations, an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire agreement was proposed July 15. The draft truce included mentions of opening Gaza’s borders, but no specific mention of opening the Rafah, a key demand of Hamas, which rejected the initiative.
At a meal with reporters last week, Shoukry said Egypt’s sovereignty over the Rafah crossing is a “red line,” and was non-negotiable.