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Egypt PM says he will never forget Palestine

Ibrahim Mehlab tells last day of Asian-African conference that Palestine will never walk alone.

24.04.2015
Egypt PM says he will never forget Palestine

By Ainur Rohmah 

JAKARTA

Egypt's prime minister has chosen the final day of the Asian-African conference to display his passion for Palestinian independence, telling world leaders that he will never forget Palestine. 

"People in Africa and Asia have their right to live, to move ahead, they have their rights to be independent, but there is something that is left behind among us and that is Palestine," Ibrahim Mehlab told the gathered throng.

"We will never forget Palestine. They have the right to have their own state. Our leaders will never remain calm before we witness an independent and sovereign Palestine that can unite all Palestinians who have suffered for 70 years because of another nation’s occupation." 

The comments come the day after Hamas leader Salah al-Bardawil told The Anadolu Agency that recent talks between his group and Egypt had been "positive."

He said that senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouq had recently communicated with several Egyptian officials. 

"Talks focused on seeking an end to the Egyptian government's campaign against Hamas and the resistance, as well as the ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip," al-Bardawil said.

The comments suggest a warming in relations between the two parties following Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's persecution of Muslim Brotherhood members, and the jailing of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi - Egypt’s first democratically elected president.

In February, an Egyptian court declared Hamas - an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood - a "terrorist organization." Hamas referred to the allegation as “shocking and dangerous,” adding that it illustrated that Egypt is "serving the Israeli enemy."

At Friday's close of the six-day Asian-African 60th Anniversary Conference, the Egyptian prime minister referred to the spirit of Bandung - a widely recognized set of norms for international relations.

"The Bandung Spirit has been in place for 60 years and we are now reinvigorating lives on in the principles of independence and prosperity," he said. 

The spirit contains the Ten Principles of Bandung on handling state-to-state relations and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

"The road is still long but it has been started by our founding fathers,” said Mehlab, as the audience rose in applause.

"We need to continue it, do this by working together under the spirit and the 10 principles of the Bandung Conference."

In 1948, some 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes – or were forcibly expelled by Jewish forces – after the creation of the new state of Israel, while hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns were razed to the ground.

Since its establishment 66 years ago, Israel has continued to misappropriate Palestinian land in the West Bank – on which it continues to build Jewish-only settlements – in breach of international law.

Palestinians, for their part, demand the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with Jerusalem – currently occupied by Israel – as its capital.

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