Saudi officials intervened at the last minute on Sunday to prevent a rift occurring between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Egyptian authorities during the inauguration ceremony of President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.
Sources said that the expelled leader of Fatah Mohammed Dahlan was amongst the dignitaries attending the inauguration as an advisor to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed Bin Zayed which infuriated the Palestinian president who was also attending in the inauguration ceremony.
According to the sources, Abbas asked the head of the Egyptian intelligence services Mohammad Tahami to intervene and prevent Dahlan from attending the ceremony or he would withdraw and return to Ramallah. Tahami asked for some time to intervene and four hours later said Al-Sisi insisted Dahlan attend.
The sources said Abbas, who arrived two days before the inauguration in Cairo, was very annoyed and intended not to attend the ceremony were it not for the intervention of a Saudi official who spoke to Al-Sisi and prevented Dahlan from attending the ceremony.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi expressed his surprise at the incident, but Al-Sisi inviting Mohammed Bin Zayed and Dahlan to a private function at his home.
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported that during the inauguration ceremony the handshake between Abbas and Al-Sisi appeared to be tepid upsetting the Palestinians; this lead to the cancellation of the meeting that was supposed to occur between the two presidents on Monday.
After the coup in Egypt, Al-Sisi asked Abbas to reconcile with Dahlan "instead of focusing on a future relationship with Hamas and reconciling with them". Abbas refused this request, insisting that there was no dispute with Dahlan.