Egyptian, Palestinian presidents meet to end Gaza siege

Egyptian, Palestinian presidents meet to end Gaza siege
# 16 June 2010 03:35 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, with lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza, the inter-Palestinian reconciliation and efforts to push Middle East peace process forward high on the agenda, APA reports quoting website .

Following the meeting, Abbas said in a press conference that the talks were focused on the outcome of his latest tour which included Turkey, the United States, Spain and France as well as the inter-Palestinian reconciliation efforts.

According to the Palestinian president, he briefed Mubarak on the outcome of his tour, especially his talks with U.S. President Barack Obama, during which he underlined the necessity to end the Israeli blockade on Gaza and to launch an investigation into its attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla some two weeks ago.

"We told the Americans that the siege should be lifted. This means opening all the Israeli crossings," Abbas said.

Abbas called for an impartial fact-finding committee to investigate the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla, which killed nine pro-Palestinian activists.

"This investigation committee has to be in accordance with the presidential statement issued by the (UN) Security Council," he added.

The UN Security Council, in its presidential statement of May 31, called for an impartial investigation into the Israeli attack on the flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

It is important to make use of these political activities caused by the Israeli attack on the flotilla to lift the siege on Gaza, Emad Gad, an expert from Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies told Xinhua.

Gad said the strip has six crossings bordered on Israel and one on Egypt, and the international community should not allow this unjustified blockade exist.

He added that a marine force from Europe or other countries can be formed to search the ships heading to Gaza, to make sure that they don’t carry any weapon. And it is also important that the European Union (EU) and UN send supervisors to Rafah crossing to make sure it will be opened permanently.

As for the inter-Palestinian reconciliation, Gad said it is necessary to be accomplished, which will remove the reasons of the blockade, as the siege was imposed after Hamas controlled the Gaza Strip.

Gad said it is important to make use of the current condition to push the peace process forward, referring to the meeting between Abbas and Mubarak and the former’s tour in Turkey, the U.S. , Spain and France.

Abbas discussed last week with Obama the "disastrous attack by Israeli forces" on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, the necessary mechanism of lifting the siege imposed on Gaza three yeas ago and the indirect negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

The proximity talks, supposed to handle security issues and the borders of the future Palestinian state, have not yet made progress since it kicked off in May.

Earlier, Azzam al-Ahmad, a Fatah official, said the Palestinian president has assured Hamas that the Islamic movement’s reservation on an Egyptian proposal for Palestinian unity would be considered after Hamas signs the Egyptian plan.

Al-Ahmad said that Fatah agrees on conducting the presidential and parliament elections supervised by Turkey and other foreign countries and international institutions from all over the world.

"We are working on lifting the siege, not just to ease it through talking about a visit or entering some goods," al-Ahmad added.

He asserted the reconciliation as the only way to revive the national cause through gathering hands to found a law to face the Israeli criminals and the European and American hesitation.