Tunis – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stressed that he will work on achieving national unity and ending internal division because it is one of the demands of the establishment of a Palestinian state.
He told Asharq Al-Awsat that he will “strongly” support the peace initiative that was launched by US President Donald Trump in which he vowed to achieve the two-state solution within a year and according to the 1967 borders.
Abbas admitted however that this is a difficult task due to the complicated situation on the ground and the policies of the right-wing Israeli government.
The differences with the militant group Hamas are also another obstacle to achieving this goal, he added.
The Palestinian leader, who is currently in Tunisia, revealed that he will depart the country for Cairo, which is organizing a Palestinian-Egyptian summit. The meeting will be an occasion to assess the results of negotiations with Hamas in the Gaza coastal strip.
Abbas will hold talks to that end with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and other Egyptian officials later on Sunday.
“We will find out the results of the recent Egyptian mediation and will take the necessary stance in light of them,” he said.
“We have sought for years to achieve Palestinian national unity and several Arab, Islamic and international initiatives have been made for this purpose, but the Hamas leadership in Gaza surprised us three months ago with the announcement of the formation of a new unilateral cabinet,” he continued.
“This was a provocative move that underlines the coup and division,” he declared.
“A government that is loyal to Hamas cannot impose its agenda on the entire Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank, Palestine and the disapora,” Abbas stated.
“At the same time, we believe that national unity demands that Gaza be a part of it. This will improve the living conditions of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian citizens who have been besieged for years by the occupation and the pro-Hamas coup leaders,” he said.
“We will not punish our people in Gaza … but the Hamas movement in Gaza should be aware that we may immediately impose financial sanctions if it insists on maintaining its coup against the institutions of the Palestinian state in Ramallah,” warned Abbas when asked of the repercussions of the possible failure of the Cairo negotiations.
“The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah may decide after the Cairo talks to impose financial sanctions on the Hamas command in Gaza. It can clearly justify such a move by demonstrating how some officials in Gaza have been employing Palestinian state funds for cementing the coup and division, which has harmed the interests of the Palestinian people and its right to a two-state solution,” he continued.
The two-state solution has been advocated by Trump “and we look forward for his pledges to be translated into tangible support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state according to the June 1967 borders,” stressed Abbas.
The two-state solution was at the heart of discussions the Palestinian leader held with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and a number of Arab, Muslim and African leaders, who attended the 28th African Union summit that was hosted by Addis Ababa.