Palestinian officials in Cairo for unity talks and UN recognition
Top Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and other high-level Fatah officials met with Egyptian diplomats in Cairo Wednesday to discuss the future of a Palestinian state and a new unity government dpa reported
Erekat met with Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil el-Arabi as Palestinian political factions met with Egyptian security officials to discuss the formation of new Palestinian government.
Officials from Hamas and Fatah, former rival parties, are in Cairo this week to lay the groundwork for next week's meetings, in which, after years of bloody feuding, some 13 Palestinian factions will decide on a prime minister and form a new Palestinian unity government.
Separately, el-Arabi also met Azzam el-Ahmad, the head of Fatah's parliamentary faction in the Palestinian Legislative Council, and Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative.
For his part, chief negotiator Erekat told reporters in Cairo that Palestinians would foremost continue to focus on achieving recognition of a Palestinian state through bilateral relations with countries, despite efforts for a United Nations vote.
"We do not seek to declare a Palestinian state unilaterally as has been said," said Erekat. "We also do not aim for recognition by the world's countries at the United Nations. International recognition of a Palestinian state is made by these countries independently."
The Palestinian Authority has stated its intentions to seek recognition through a UN vote, which they are hoping will happen in September.
Some 120-130 UN General Assembly member states are already said to have voiced support for the recognition proposal
However, a number of Western countries, including some of Israel's staunchest supporters, including Germany and the United States, have expressed their disapproval.
Washington is strongly opposed and Germany has said unilateral steps could be counter-productive.
A meeting of the Arab Peace Initiative Committee, led by the prime minister of Qatar, will take place in Egypt next week. It will focus on seeking Palestinian statehood recognition, with its capital as East Jerusalem along 1967 borders.
The Arab Peace Initiative, proposed in 2002, offered Israel formal recognition and peace with member-states of the Arab League if it withdraws from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, as well as the remaining occupied territories in the south of Lebanon.
Israel has not officially responded to the proposal.
Speaking to reporters in Cairo, Erekat said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to the principles of a two-state solution and therefor must stop the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank