Tillerson says Jerusalem’s borders will be negotiated

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry that Jerusalem’s borders will only be decided “after intensive talks and discussions between Palestinians and Israelis,” during a meeting yesterday.

Tillerson reinforced the US commitment to achieving a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians at a joint news conference with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The Secretary of State confirmed that the pair “agreed we would continue our close cooperation on counterterrorism measures” and reaffirmed “the US commitment to continue to support Egypt in the fight against terrorism”.

Tillerson also pressed President al-Sisi about the need for “free and fair elections”. The Egyptian Presidential elections will take place in March, with al-Sisi seeking a second term in office, amid concerns over the withdrawal of several candidates from the race.

Tillerson arrived in Egypt yesterday, and then travelled in the evening to Kuwait. He is scheduled to visit Turkey, Jordan and potentially Lebanon. Despite the current tension between Israel and Iran, he is not expected to amend his original itinerary and include a short stopover in Israel.

A senior Hamas delegation from Gaza, led by Political Bureau Chairman Ismail Haniyeh, was invited to Cairo for talks by the Egyptian Government over the weekend. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the visit was part of their work to “alleviate the suffering of our people in the Gaza Strip” and confirmed that they had discussed overcoming the obstacles which had prevented the implementation of the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah, signed in Cairo in November 2017. Last week Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing for three days, its first opening this year.