CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met Monday with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas in France on the sidelines of Paris-held U.N. Climate Change Conference, affirming that the opening of Rafah border crossing with Gaza Strip depends on the return of Palestinian Authority’s control over the strip.
“President Sisi stressed the importance of the return of the Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip and to oversee the border crossings, in accordance with international resolutions, which will help regulate the opening of the crossings, improve living conditions and provide the daily needs of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,” Egyptian Presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef stated.
“Sisi added that the measures Egypt has taken to secure its eastern borders are in full coordination with the Palestinian National Authority and are not meant to harm Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,” he continued.
The both leaders talked the ways of resuming the peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis; they also tackled the deteriorating situation of religious sanctities and continued settlements, Youssef continued.
Palestinian ambassador to Cairo Gamal Shobaky previously told The Cairo Post that President Sisi has noted that Egypt would re-open the crossing from its direction in case Hamas ceded its management to the Palestine Authority.
Sisi had previously told Abbas these conditions during a meeting between them in Cairo on Nov. 9. A week later, AP reported Palestinian top official Azzam al-Ahmed that PA and Cairo reached an agreement to re-open Rafah crossing.
Since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, the crossing was closed amid high intensified security measures along the Egyptian side, especially after a terror attack targeted military personnel in October 2014.
However, the crossing has been re-operated exceptionally several times to facilitate flights of the Palestinians people. On Oct. 15, the crossing was reopened from the Palestine side as more than 2,000 passengers crossed. Over the past five weeks, the crossing was re-operated for the Palestinian pilgrims.