Abbas in Cairo, Istanbul to Rally Region Over Yerushalayim

CAIRO (Reuters) -
Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit (L.) and Palestinian National Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al Maliki are seen after a meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, Egypt, Monday. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday intensified efforts to rally Middle Eastern countries against U.S. recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital, setting up talks with Arab leaders, beginning in Cairo.

Abbas met President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi of Egypt, which has been a key broker in past peace talks with Israel and between fighting Palestinian factions, before heading for Istanbul to give a speech, his office said.

Arab states condemned President Donald Trump’s Yerushalayim decision last week and vowed to press international bodies to take action against it, without announcing any concrete measures. The Arab Parliament held an emergency meeting on the issue in Cairo on Monday, state news agency MENA reported.

“Daring Palestinian and Arab decisions are required in the coming stage, which is very important,” Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah told Palestinian official news agency WAFA.

World powers have warned the U.S. move will impede peace efforts in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict as anger spreads across the region.

Abbas will not meet Mike Pence during the U.S. vice president’s visit to the region later this month, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said on Saturday.

Egypt’s top Muslim and Christian religious leaders also said they would not meet Pence.

Egypt, along with Jordan, a key U.S. ally in the region which has helped broker past peace deals and has good relations with Israel, has said Trump’s move undermines efforts to end the conflict.

It has also brokered reconciliation deals between Abbas’s Fatah party and the Gaza-based Hamas Islamist terror group, which called for a new uprising against Israel last week.

The planned handover of control of Gaza to the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority under the latest deal hit another delay on Sunday, with a Fatah official blaming “obstacles” without elaborating.