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Egyptian ambassador says links with Hamas are bigger than any dispute

February 5, 2014 at 2:04 am

Egypt’s ambassador to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, Yasser Othman, has said that the common goals and interests between Cairo and Hamas are much bigger than any disagreements the two may have. He repeated his call for the Islamic Resistance Movement to remain neutral on Egypt’s internal crisis and to disregard side differences between the two parties.

Othman told Risala News on Saturday, “The reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo will remain above all considerations and political differences that may arise between Cairo and Hamas. I believe that reconciliation is the primary gateway to resolve the crisis in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank. It is on top of the agenda for Egypt’s new leadership.”

Although he acknowledged that there are difficulties at the moment, the ambassador pointed out that the reconciliation file takes precedence over other considerations. “It is essential in order to preserve the Palestinian cause,” he insisted.

Othman’s comments were made as Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk of the Hamas political bureau is believed to have arrived in Cairo en route from Doha. His stay in Egypt is expected to last several days.

According to Ambassador Othman, there is no pressure on the Hamas leadership in Cairo. The government, he claimed, will not ask Hamas to leave. “Egypt is a big country and respects the Hamas leadership and appreciates its national and regional role,” he said.

When asked about the Rafah border crossing, Othman noted that the criteria for keeping it open revolve around security issues. Nevertheless, having an open border crossing is a “right” of the Palestinian people, as is a solution for the fuel and electricity crisis engulfing the Gaza Strip. He is optimistic that the Rafah crossing problem will be resolved “soon”, probably when the Egyptian army is able to restore security across the Sinai Peninsula. He called upon the relevant parties to speak to Egypt on an institutional level in order to solve the electricity crisis, adding that Egypt is “ready to help”.

Meanwhile, Dr Bassem Naim, the foreign affairs adviser of the Hamas government in Gaza, said that the power crisis should end within the next two weeks unless “negative surprises surface to block our efforts”. He pointed out that regional, international and local efforts are being exerted to solve the issue.