World Bulletin/News Desk
Latest developments in Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and reconciliation efforts between rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas topped discussions between Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi and Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the Central Committee of Fatah, in Cairo on Sunday.
Following the meeting, al-Ahmad said that he briefed the top Egyptian diplomat about proposals made during recent trilateral meetings between the Palestinians, Israelis and Americans with the aim of reviving peace negotiations, which hit a snag as a result of what he called "Israeli intransigence".
"Negotiations must be built on clear foundations derived from international legitimacy, which includes the right of return for the Palestinian refugees and compensation in the light of UN Security Council Resolution 194," al-Ahmad said.
He said the negotiations must also be conducive to the two-state solution, describing the notion as the core of all pending problems between the Palestinians and Israel.
He also called for suspending Israel's settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land, particularly in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem), and refraining from taking unilateral measures that harm the rights of the Palestinian side.
Al-Ahmad said he agreed with the Egyptian minister on the need to maintain Egyptian-Palestinian coordination in this regard. "Egyptian-American contacts will continue in the days to come in this direction," al-Ahmad said.
He said the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners – who should have been freed by Israel as part of a previously signed agreement between the Palestinians and Israel – should be separated from Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations.
The Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government reached an agreement last July on the release of 104 prisoners who have been languishing in Israeli jails before the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993 as part of a deal to resume U.S.-brokered peace talks.
Israel released three batches but refused to release the 4th group in March.
In response, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally applied for Palestinian membership in 15 U.N. conventions.
The developments came only a few weeks before an April 29 negotiation deadline for the U.S.-sponsored peace talks.
As for the reconciliation file, al-Ahmad said Fatah is ready for reconciliation with its rival movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
"But the fact is that we are worried about Hamas' attitude," al-Ahmad said.
He said Hamas continues to send "discouraging" signals even as a Fatah-led delegation under his leadership is due to visit Gaza within the next 48 hours.
"Even with this, we will go [to Gaza]," al-Ahmad, who is responsible for the reconciliation file in Fatah, said.
Relations between Hamas and Fatah have been tense since the Islamist movement seized control of the Gaza Strip following a deadly infighting with Fatah in 2007.Last Mod: 20 Nisan 2014, 17:29