Egypt Willing to Open Gaza Border Crossing Permanently, Official Says

Palestinian reconciliation puts Rafah Crossing reopening back on the table, Egyptian official says.


Egypt is willing to permanently reopen the Rafah Crossing to the Gaza Strip as long as the border is under the supervision of the Palestinian unity government, an Egyptian official told the Palestinian news agency Ma'an on Saturday.

The official said "real promises" for the opening of the crossing will be considered in a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt's President al-Sissi in a meeting in Cairo Sunday.

Abbas traveled to Cairo on Sunday for al-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president, ahead of a trip to the Vatican for a joint prayer for peace with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Pope Francis.

According to the Egyptian official, the recent reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas has put the opening of the crossing, mostly sealed since Hamas overtook the Strip in 2007, back on the table.

A new Palestinian unity government was sworn a week ago, after the long estranged Hamas and Fatah factions signed a reconciliation agreement last April. 

The Egyptian official said Egypt welcomed the reconciliation between the Palestinian factions, adding that it may help to foster Egypt's cooperation with Hamas if it cuts its ties with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, declared a terrorist organization by the Egyptian regime.

The Egyptian official also said Egypt would request Abbas to re-open the Palestinian presidential headquarters in the Gaza Strip.