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Thursday, 27 May 2021

Egypt to host summit on long-term peace in Palestine, Gaza reconstruction efforts

Egypt could host a summit to discuss a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Palestine, and work out an agreement on Gaza reconstruction as well as discuss the return of Israeli captives, according to a report by Israeli broadcaster Kan. The summit would bring together officials from the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Israel — who were invited by an Egyptian general that had visited Israel last week — but no official date has been set yet. According to Israeli media, Tel Aviv will only take part if reconstruction and peace talks take place separately, and if progress is made on the return of the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed in a 2014 clash with Hamas and two citizens held in Hamas captivity. Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh is reportedly due to land in Cairo “in the next few days” to discuss the plans, according to Saudi’s Asharq Al-Awsat.

The report came after Egypt reportedly proposed setting up an international organization / task force led by Arab countries to oversee funds transferred into Gaza from donor organizations, and bolster the UN’s role in reconstruction, Asharq Al-Awsat quoted an Egyptian official as saying. Qatar recently took Egypt’s lead and pledged USD 500 mn for Gaza reconstruction after the El Sisi administration committed the same amount last week.

Egypt played a key role in mediating last week’s ceasefire, which ended 11 days of deadly violence in Gaza, and our effort earned praise from the Biden administration, which is now working closely with Cairo to reinforce peace and push ahead with reconstruction.

Foreign press sees Egypt’s role as interlocutor as cemented: The Financial Times was also out this morning with a piece by Cairo correspondent Heba Saleh taking a look at how Egypt was, and still is, relevant as a crucial “power broker” in the Palestinian struggle.

What’s the latest on GERD? President Abdel Fattah El Sisi brought up the topic with his Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh during a visit to the East African nation today. This is the second time in recent weeks El Sisi discusses the issue with an African leader. He had touched on the importance of reaching an agreement with Ethiopia on filling and operating the dam in a sit-down Sengalese president Macky Sall in Paris last week as his administration continues to ratchet up international support. Sudan said this week that it has evidence to suggest that Ethiopia began the second filling of the dam’s reservoir without an agreement with Cairo and Khartoum, adding urgency to the talks.

The bid for more backing also came up during talks between El Sisi and Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Cairo yesterday. Blinken said Washington is “committed” to working on reaching a solution beneficial to Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, but it might be too early to expect the US to intervene in the tripartite negotiations.

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