CAIRO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will arrive in Cairo Saturday to meet his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to discuss Palestinian-Israeli issues including a donor conference co-hosted by Egypt and Norway for reconstructing Gaza, Palestinian Embassy spokesperson Nagy el-Nagy told The Cairo Post Tuesday.
Abbas’ visit follows a scheduled meeting with Khaled Mashaal in Qatar Thursday to discuss a permanent cease-fire agreement with Israel, Nagy said. The ongoing conflict has left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead and over 10,000 injured since its beginning in July. Three Israeli civilians and 67 soldiers have been killed in the conflict, according to the Israeli Army.
“The visit will tackle the latest developments in the Palestinian issue, including the donor conference, which is expected to be held in the first week of September in Cairo,” Nagy added.
The conference was scheduled to be held in Oslo, but the Norwegian government accepted the Palestinian Authority’s request to hold the meeting in Egypt, according to Nagy.
President Abbas said during the opening meeting of the Palestinian Authority on Saturday evening in Ramallah that Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and the capital, Cairo, were chosen as alternatives to Oslo. “Wherever the conference will be held, we welcome it,” he said.
The donor conference will be held after an agreement is reached between both sides, Norway’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said Monday.
“The invitations to the conference, to be held in Cairo, will be duly extended once an agreement on a sustainable ceasefire has been reached as a result of the ongoing talks in Cairo,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende in the statement.
“’Egypt and Norway are organizing this conference in order to provide political support for a lasting ceasefire. At the same time, the donors intend to send a clear signal that the fundamental situation in Gaza must be changed. Gaza cannot be simply rebuilt in the same way as it has been before. The international community cannot necessarily be expected to contribute to yet another reconstruction effort,” he added.
The indirect ceasefire talks between Israel and Palestine resumed in Cairo after the Palestinian delegation head Azam al-Ahmad announced Monday evening a 24-hour extension of a five-day truce. The truce is scheduled to end midnight Tuesday.
However, the Israeli Army announced that its forces launched strikes on targets in Gaza as a response to rockets fired by Hamas into southern Israeli cities Be’er Sheva and Netivot.
The latest Israeli raids on Gaza began July 1, a day after Israel found the bodies of three kidnapped settlers in the West Bank. The body of Palestinian Mohamed Abo Khodeir, 16, was found mutilated and burned, in what is widely seen as a revenge killing for the death of the Israelis. Hamas started launching rockets into Israel in its latest campaign on July 4.