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Abbas meets with Egyptian leaders, discusses peace efforts

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, walks next to Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Egyptian Armed Forces Supre

Source : AP
CAIRO | 31 May 2011

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt’s military rulers have discussed Middle East peace efforts.

The official Middle East News Agency said Monday that Abbas thanked Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt’s ruling Supreme Military Council, for Egypt’s support of the Palestinians.

MENA said the Palestinians confirmed their readiness to restart peace negotiations with Israel based on US President Barack Obama’s May 19 speech stating Israel’s pre-1967 lines as a starting point for new borders.

The Palestinians hope for UN recognition this autumn of a state that would include the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Abbas and Tantawi also discussed attempts at reconciliation among the rival Palestinian factions.

Egypt lifted an unpopular 4-year-old blockade of the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

Meanwhile, in another development, Palestinian officials said they have pledged $200 million for reconstruction in the war-battered Gaza Strip.

Monday’s announcement of the new “unity fund” marks another step in the reconciliation process between the rival Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza.

The sides agreed this month to end a four-year rift and are now in the process of forming a joint government.

The new fund is being headed by the West Bank-based Palestinian Investment Fund. Its director, Mohammed Mustafa, says the cash will go to housing, energy and transportation projects.

He says he hopes to raise an additional $800 million from private Arab investors.

Gaza’s infrastructure was heavily damaged during an Israeli military offensive against Palestinian militants two and a half years ago.


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