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Palestinian president in Cairo, Istanbul to rally region over Jerusalem

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

Abbas will meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi 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 US President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem decision last week, and vowed to press international bodies to take action against it. The Arab Parliament held an emergency meeting on the issue in Cairo on Monday, state news agency MENA reported.

Read More: Thousands of Indonesians continue protest Trump’s Jerusalem move

Sisi, after a separate meeting with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the US moving its Israel embassy to Jerusalem would have “dangerous effects on peace and security in the region”.

Abbas met the head of the Arab League in Cairo on Monday, local media reported. Arab foreign ministers held an hours-long emergency meeting at the weekend and vowed to seek a UN Security Council resolution rejecting the US move, but gave few details on other measures they would take.

The Palestinians hope for concrete action.

“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 said the US move will impede peace efforts in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict as anger spreads across the region.

Read More: EU tells Netanyahu no support for Trump’s Jerusalem move

The Trump administration says it is still committed to the peace process.

Abbas will not meet Mike Pence during the US 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.

Abbas is expected to make a statement after his meeting with Sisi, the Palestinian embassy in Cairo said, without giving details.

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

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

Israel launched fresh air strikes in Gaza on Saturday, where it rained rockets in 2014 which killed more than 2,000 people, most of them civilians.

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