Palestinian sources reported on Tuesday that President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Egypt on Wednesday to hold talks with Egyptian officials on the situation of the borders between Gaza and Egypt. Meanwhile, representatives of Hamas will also be heading to Egypt for talks on the same issue.The Hamas team includes Mahmoud Zahar, one the prominent leaders of the movement.
Two days ago, Abbas met with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and both leaders agreed on a certain arrangement regarding the Rafah border Crossing.
Abbas demands that his security forces should control the crossing point and is apparently supported in his position by Israel and the United States in addition to some Arab countries. But on the ground, Hamas is which is in control over the Gaza Strip refused to be excluded from any agreement regarding border arrangements issues.
Hamas media spokesperson, Sami Abu Zuhri, said that the talks which will be conducted by Hamas with Egypt are separate from any talks held by Fateh officials loyal to Abbas, and that there will be no meetings between Hamas and Fateh officials.
Abu Zuhri added that Hamas wants the Rafah Crossing to be controlled only by Egypt and the Palestinians, without any intervention from Israel.
Meanwhile, sources within Fateh movement said that there are serious differences between Abbas and his Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, regarding the issue of the Rafah Border Crossing and arrangements to run border crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Fayyad insists that his government should be in direct control over the Rafah Crossing in coherence with an agreement signed with Israel in 2005. Abbas insists that the Presidential Security Forces should be in control of the crossing.
Part of the conflict between Abbas and Fayyad is related to a security plan for running the crossing in collaboration with the US and Israel, which Fayyad represented to the United States without a presidential decree from Abbas. The plan was welcomed by US and Israeli officials.
On Monday, Egypt stated that it is willing to hand the Rafah Border Crossing to Abbas, and this offer was welcomed by several Arab leaders, but Hamas rejected the offer.
Also, US Secretary Of State, Condoleezza Rice, stated on Monday that the US would support Abbas’ forces if they assume control over the crossing.
Rice said that such an issue would “bring some order” to the crossing point.