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Egypt-Palestine ties set to improve after unity government

The election of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as Egyptian president has coincided with the announcement of a unity government in Palestine, paving the way for improved relations, starting with the opening of the Rafah border crossing.
A Palestinian passenger, hoping to cross into Egypt, searches for her bag as she waits at the Rafah crossing, between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip, September 30, 2013. Egypt partially reopened its border crossing with the Gaza Strip for three days on Saturday for the humanitarian needs of patients seeking treatment, and students studying outside of Gaza, a Palestinian official said.  REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY IMMIGRATION TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3FFFU

During the short election campaign for president of Egypt, candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was asked about his vision for future relations between Egypt and Palestine. Sisi was very clear in his support for Palestinian rights, and he expressed the anger of the Egyptian people with the Islamic movement Hamas. Sisi, who has met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas both as defense minister and as presidential candidate, is known to be cold toward the Palestinian president.

In all his meetings, the Egyptian strongman has called on his Palestinian counterpart to speed up the reconciliation process. While such a call is understood to mean the PLO-Hamas reconciliation, it is possible that Sisi is referring to reconciliation within Fatah and especially between former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan and Abbas. Sisi's overwhelming victory in last week’s presidential elections has once again raised the question of what the relationship would be like between the Egyptian and Palestinian presidents.

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