Egyptian envoy holds talks in PA, Israel as Jenin handover expected
Major General Omar Suleiman, Head of the Egyptian Intelligence met on Wednesday with a number of high Palestinian officials before heading to Israel where he met with Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon to discuss the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip due to start later this year. Suleiman is expected to seek agreement with Israel on arrangements for the Egypt-Gaza Strip border where Israeli troops currently control a buffer zone dubbed the Philadelphi corridor.
The Palestinians are demanding that Israeli troops pull out of the buffer zone along with the rest of the occupied Gaza Strip this summer.
Suleiman's visit comes days before a trip to Israel by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit, which will coincide with an expected tour of the region by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
An Israeli-Palestinian committee coordinating Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip met for the first time Tuesday. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the 90-minute talks, which ended at 11:30 pm (20:30 GMT), took place in a “positive atmosphere.” Israeli sources said that during the meeting, Israel promised to hand over the security control on Jenin to the Palestinians before the planned withdrawal.
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