Abbas and Mubarak meet in Cairo
Palestinian President Mohamed Abbas arrived in Egypt on Tuesday for a meeting scheduled with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the recent escalation of violence between Palestinians and Israelis.
Abbas will also address the border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt at Rafah, as well as economic matters in Gaza during his visit.
The Palestinian leader told reporters earlier in the week that that he believed the Israeli government to be responsible for the escalation, which has included military raids in the West Bank and aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Abbas made the statements during a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee in the West Bank.
As a result of the Israeli attacks, he announced that he had cancelled his scheduled meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon set to be held on October 2. He added that the escalation had “no justification” and that Israel had “shot down the efforts to advance the peace process," according to the Palestinian Media Center.
Israeli officials however claimed that the cancellation had been initiated by them, saying, "We have cancelled preliminary talks to protest at the inability of the Palestinian Authority to put an end to the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip this weekend against southern Israel, " according to Reuters.
The Palestinian National Authority has since called on international bodies to intervene in the situation, saying that Israel's continued aggression could lead the entire region into chaos.
Abbas had also met with US officials in Ramallah on Tuesday to discuss the escalation, according to KUNA. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stressed the importance of maintaining self-restraint when it came to Israel, and urged the Palestinians to remain in contact with both Israel and the US.
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