Reports from the Middle East claim that Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi is facing “frightening” pressure not to open the border with the Gaza Strip and thus end the siege. According to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, Egypt’s Information Minister Salah Abdul-Maqsoud said that Morsi intends to do his best, despite the pressure, to open the crossings between his country and Gaza.
“There is no international law which allows you to close a nation’s sole outlet for travel and treatment,” said Abdul-Maqsoud. “There is a popular desire to end the siege imposed on the Palestinians, which was clear in the president’s electoral campaign. We will open the borders and allow free movement, but it needs some more time to be done.”
Speaking about the results of the changes in Egypt, the minister said that Palestine is returning to its rightful position. “For the first time, the Egyptian president is meeting all Palestinian leaders without prejudice,” he said, referring to the visits of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Hamas political bureau Khaled Meshaal and Gaza’s Prime Minster Ismail Haniyeh, who were all received at the presidential palace.
Abdul-Maqsoud confirmed that all Palestinian factions are regarded equally by Egypt: “Currently, Egypt stands with all Palestinian factions to work for grasping Palestinian rights, whereas the previous regime stood alongside Fatah only.” He added that ousted President Mubarak “used to strangle the resistance movement, especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad; they were dealt with as security issues.”
In a Reuters report on Monday, Abdul-Maqsoud said that the official media in Egypt will not normalise relations with Israel before the liberation of the occupied Palestinian territories, although internally it will “respect the constitutional legitimacy” of such links.
“Egypt now deals with Israel on the basis that there is an accord signed between the two countries,” insisted Abdul-Maqsoud. “However, although we demand some changes in the peace treaty, the president of the country, and other state institutions, has said that he will respect the signed accords and so we do.”