Abbas Meets with Israeli Delegation in Ramallah

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz. Photo: Horowitz' Twitter Account
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz. Photo: Horowitz' Twitter Account
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Abbas Meets with Israeli Delegation in Ramallah

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz. Photo: Horowitz' Twitter Account
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz. Photo: Horowitz' Twitter Account

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met an Israeli government delegation in Ramallah Sunday evening, the second meeting between the two sides in a month, said sources on both sides.

Abbas received Israel's Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Regional Cooperation Minister Issawi Freij and deputy Michal Rozin, all from the left-wing Meretz party, part of the ruling coalition.

"The president underlined the importance of ending the Israeli occupation and achieving a just and global peace conforming to international resolutions," the territory's official news agency WAFA reported.

Abbas also stressed the need to put an end to the settlements, and to end the expulsion of Palestinian families from different parts of East Jerusalem, WAFA added.

The Meretz members reiterated their support for a two-state solution to the conflict, for an independent Palestinian state and the need to build trust between the two sides.

Meretz leader Horowitz has been harshly criticized by the right in Israel for his meetings with Abbas.

Horowitz posted a picture of himself and Abbas on Twitter. “We have a shared mission: to preserve the hope for peace, on the basis of a two-state solution," he said.

In late August, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited the Palestinian Authority's headquarters for talks with Abbas, the first such official meeting at this level in several years.

But after those talks, Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that there was no peace process ongoing with the Palestinians, "and there won't be one".

The new Israeli government is comprised of eight parties spanning the Israeli political spectrum, from far-right hardliners who oppose a Palestinian state to dovish parties that support a two-state solution. Horowitz leads the most dovish faction in the coalition.

Bennett comes from a small, hardline religious party, and he has ruled out the establishment of a Palestinian state on his watch. But he has called for reducing frictions, primarily by taking steps to boost the Palestinian economy.



Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
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Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)

Egypt needs to import around $1.18 billion worth of mazut fuel oil and natural gas to end persistent power cuts exacerbated by consecutive heat waves, its Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in a televised address on Tuesday.

It hopes the shipments will arrive in full around the third week of July, by which point the government aims to stop cutting power during the remaining summer months, he added.

It has already started contracting for 300,000 tons of mazut worth $180 million to boost its strategic reserves which are expected to arrive early next week.

Egypt's government on Monday extended daily power cuts to three hours from two hours previously in response to a surge in domestic electricity consumption during the latest heat wave.

These three-hour cuts will continue until the end of June, before returning to two hours in the first half of July with the aim of stopping completely for the rest of the summer, Madbouly said on Tuesday.

Egyptian social media has lit up with complaints about the impact of the blackouts, with some saying they have been forced to purchase private power generators.

The problem has particularly affected teenagers preparing for the crucial high school certificate, with some posting about students studying by candlelight and others in coffee shops.

A wedding hall owner in the coastal city of Port Said said he would turn one of his ballrooms into a study hall.

Since July last year, load shedding linked to falling gas production, rising demand and a shortage of foreign currency has led to scheduled two-hour daily power cuts in most areas.

"We had said that we planned to end load shedding by the end of 2024... we do not have a power generation problem or a network problem, we are unable to provide fuel," Madbouly said on Tuesday.

"With the increase in consumption related to the major development and population increase, there has been a lot of pressure on our dollar resources," he added.

He said production in a neighboring country's gas field had come to a full halt for 12 hours leading to an interruption in the supply, without naming the country or the gas field.

Egypt's Abu Qir Fertilizers said on Tuesday three of its plants had halted production because their supply of natural gas was cut.