In Cairo to de-escalate (but without the US, Israel and Iran)

In Cairo to de-escalate (but without the US, Israel and Iran)

There will be no Israel, no United States, and no Iran. That is why the Middle East Peace Summit scheduled to be held today in Cairo begins with the realization that a real diplomatic turning point remains elusive. On the other hand, this is precisely the reason for the repeated reluctance of the European chancelleries to accept the invitation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. In addition to the doubt that a final announcement will be issued that is not very balanced in favor of Palestinian reasons. It is no coincidence that only yesterday morning Giorgia Meloni also decided to participate in the summit, while on Thursday evening at the Chigi Palace they spoke of her possible attendance as “highly unlikely.”

In recent days, in fact, the Prime Minister gave a general presence (moreover, it seemed that US President Joe Biden might also be present), and then the massacre in the Gaza hospital with the mutual recriminations between Tel Aviv and Hamas changed completely. The picture, with demonstrations against Israel in all countries of the region (just yesterday tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Cairo and other Egyptian cities, something that has not happened since the 2011 revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak). Thus, in the various talks between Berlin, Paris, Rome, London and Madrid, there was fear of a summit in which the Arab countries – all present, including Palestinian President Abu Mazen – would impose an “unbalanced” final declaration. It is a problem that seems to have been overcome by frequent diplomatic contacts with Cairo as well, to the point that eventually – in addition to the President of the European Union Council, Charles Michel – there will also be Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, the Prime Minister. UK Minister Rishi Sunak and the leaders of Greece and Cyprus. Yesterday, the French media also did not rule out the presence of Emmanuel Macron, but the agenda at the present time is to represent Paris at the level of foreign ministers. Just as it will certainly happen to Germany.

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The goal of Meloni – who today will have to leave behind a painful evening from a personal point of view – is above all to contribute to the lifting of the embargo on humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip (via the Rafah crossing, where yesterday the Foreign Minister visited General António Guterres). And trying to encourage dialogue regarding Hamas hostages (at least those with dual passports). Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said yesterday in Tunisia that Italy “calls for the release of the hostages” and “is working to ensure that food supplies and medicines reach the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

It will not be possible to go beyond this, because – as diplomatic sources explain – the Italian Prime Minister will not sign documents calling for a general ceasefire this morning at the Cairo summit, nor will she detract from the principle that Israel has the right to defend itself. In the late afternoon in particular, it is very likely that the Prime Minister will fly from Egypt to Tel Aviv, even if the visit – linked to the fact that today is Saturday – is not yet confirmed. In Israel, Meloni is expected to meet with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog. He gave them a text calling for stopping the escalation of the crisis.

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