Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Wednesday that he had invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Ramallah. The two leaders met in Cairo outside the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
After their meeting, Abbas said they had discussed the Palestinian issue and other regional matters. Abbas also said he thanked the Iranian president for Tehran's support of the Palestinian demand for international recognition at the United Nations.
"Iran's support was an important factor in our acceptance by the U.N. as a non-member observer state, and I thanked him for this in the name of the Palestinian people," Abbas said. At the time, Ahmadinejad said, "All Arab and Muslim states must stand alongside the Palestinians."
In Cairo, Ahmadinejad said, "The Zionists exploit Palestinian and Arab lands, control all global centers of power, wealth and influence and strive for hegemony through attacking Iran and stirring up wars between countries."
The Iranian president stressed that Iran was not planning on attacking the "Zionists," but warned that if Israel attacked a Muslim country, then Iran would be ready to stand at the forefront and destroy Israel.
"The Iranian people will stampede and trample Israel. The Zionists think they can attack Iran or any other Islamic country, but the Zionist enemy is fearful of our response and its harsh consequences. Anyone who attacks us will be forced to pay and be sorry."
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, whose country hosted the conference, said: "We must unite around the Palestinian struggle for an independent state, and act with the international community to end the theft of the occupied lands by the settlements."
According to the Egyptian daily paper Al-Ahram, Ahmadinejad offered Iranian nuclear assistance to Egypt.
"We are prepared to cooperate with Egypt so that it can benefit from the knowledge and experience we have gained in the nuclear field," he said. "The world needs to not only treat Iran as a nuclear power, but to understand that its military capabilities are for defensive purposes only."
Meanwhile, Abbas hopes that U.S. President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit to the region will mark the beginning of a new U.S. policy in the Middle East, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
"President Mahmoud Abbas welcomes the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Palestine," Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, told AFP from Cairo.
"We hope that President Obama’s visit to the region is the beginning of a new U.S. policy that will lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian lands occupied since 1967, in accordance with the international resolutions."