Ma'an News Agency
January 13, 2010 - 1:00am

Cairo – Ma’an – Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit asserted on Tuesday evening that Egypt insists on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied in 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, Egyptian media reported.

Abu Al-Gheit explained that his recent visit to Washington with Chief of Intelligence Omar Suleiman was undertaken to compel the US administration to exert pressure on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides to agree on Egypt's call for renewed peace talks, he said speaking in an interview with Egypt's Channel 2.

"Egypt has one of two solutions: Either two states living side by side, or one state for two peoples," Abu Al-Gheit explained, additionally warning of a third solution which he believes Israel to be planning - the displacement of the Palestinians into Jordan's borders.

The foreign minister further stated that the US administration dutifully paid heed to Egypt's proposal for peace, which he delivered to Washington.

"We talked to the Palestinians who explained their vision, and after that we took our responsibilities," Abul Al-Gheit said, responding to questions on other Arab states' involvement in the Egyptian peace proposal.

Addressing the issue of the Rafah border crossing into Gaza, Abul Al-Gheit said that opening its borders indefinitely would signal Egypt's recognition of the Hamas government, a violation of Egypt's agreements with the international community and Israel.

Israel's response to the Egyptian initiative

On Tuesday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel would never cede control of occupied East Jerusalem, according to a bureau statement quoted by Israeli news reports.

The statement came after Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said last week that Netanyahu would discuss making East Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state, a position accepted by most of the international community.

Netanyahu "has not changed his declared stance, and insists in all his political talks that united Jerusalem will remain under Israeli sovereignty in any peace agreement and that Israel's defense borders will not be paved back to the 1967 lines," the Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted the statement as stating.

Israel captured Palestinian East Jerusalem in 1967, declaring it the "eternal, undivided capital of Israel." The international community has never agreed to Israel's claims, and thus maintain embassies in Tel Aviv.


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