Amid tensions between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Egyptian government, President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Cairo, yesterday evening, for a two-day visit during which he plans to meet Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
In a statement, the Egyptian presidency said that Abbas and El-Sisi would meet today to discuss joint Arab and international issues. The meetings were confirmed by the PA ambassador to Cairo Jamal al-Shobaky.
Cairo is the second capital Abbas has visited in a tour of European and Arab States. Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Abbas would conclude his tour with a visit to Amman, where he will take part in the Arab League summit scheduled on March 29.
Analysts blame the tensions between Abbas and El-Sisi on reports that El-Sisi is lending support to Abbas’s rival Mohamed Dahlan. It is understood Mahmoud Abbas has reacted angrily to reports that Dahlan has held several meetings with supporters in Egypt.
The last meeting of Abbas and El-Sisi was on the margins of the African Summit held in Addis Ababa in January this year.
At the end of February, the Egyptian authorities prevented Abbas’ aide Jibril Al-Rajoub from entering Cairo, where he’d been officially invited to attend a conference on terrorism and social development in Sharm El Sheikh.
Rajoub was not permitted to leave the airport and was forced to fly back to Jordan on the plane that brought him to Egypt. However, the Palestinian Authority have played down the incident insisting that Rajoub’s deportation was not political.