International

Washington talks polarising West Asia

Special Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell, center, arrives to update reporters on the peace talks among Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the U.S. as negotiations continue at the State Department in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010. Mitchell announced that a second round of talks will take place later in September, someplace in the Mideast region. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley is at left. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Special Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell, center, arrives to update reporters on the peace talks among Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the U.S. as negotiations continue at the State Department in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010. Mitchell announced that a second round of talks will take place later in September, someplace in the Mideast region. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley is at left. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)   | Photo Credit: J. Scott Applewhite

Direct talks in Washington between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are beginning to polarise West Asia, with Egypt on Friday declaring that Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who has been critical of the talks, was not welcome in Cairo.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Iran's charge d'affaires in Cairo to inform him the visit by Mr. Mottaki on Monday had been cancelled. Mr. Mottaki was to visit Egypt in connection with a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement, which has also been put-off.

On Tuesday, the Iranian top diplomat had said those attending the Washington summit, who include Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordanian monarch Abdullah II, were “betraying their nations”. “Some leaders ... who follow America's orders must understand that they are betraying their nations,” Iran's Fars news agency quoted him as saying.

Iran's ties with Egypt touched an all-time low when Cairo signed a peace deal with Israel in 1979. Iran has in recent years emerged as a regional heavyweight, exercising considerable influence among countries such as Syria and Lebanon, which have not lined up behind the U.S. in the region.

On Friday, Tehran joined the Palestinian group Hamas in backing armed resistance as the only means to liberate the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Rejecting direct talks held on Thursday between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said it was not the United Sates but Palestinians themselves who would, through armed resistance, determine their future.

Mr. Ahmadinejad made these remarks on Al-Quds Day (Jerusalem day) — an annual event held on the last Friday of the Ramzan fasting month, when mass rallies are held across Iran in support of the Palestinian cause. Earlier on Thursday, the Hamas declared 13 Gaza-based Palestinian organisations had decided to launch a fresh wave of attacks against Israeli occupation forces. When asked whether suicide bombings were an option, a Hamas spokesman declared that “all options are open”.

These remarks follow a roadside shooting on Tuesday, claimed by the Hamas, which killed four Israeli settlers travelling in a vehicle. The Hamas also took responsibility for a similar attack on the following day which wounded two people.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 8:03:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Washington-talks-polarising-West-Asia/article15901600.ece

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