Egyptian official: Positive response from Hamas to truce proposal
Hamas has reacted favourably to an Egyptian proposal for a Gaza Strip truce and Egypt will pass on the response to Israel, Egyptian officials said on Wednesday. "Hamas has reacted favourably to Egyptian efforts to end Palestinian bloodshed during discussions (in Cairo) over the last three days," an unnamed official was quoted as saying by state news agency MENA.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said earlier that Hamas had told Egypt its stand on the truce proposal, which Egypt would convey to an Israeli official due in Cairo on Thursday. "We will tell the Israelis what we have obtained (as a response) from our brothers Hamas," Abul Gheit said.
"There are Hamas positions that we will discuss with the Israelis in the context of all the elements of President (Hosni) Mubarak's initiative. We hope that things will move forwards but we will not enter into details."
Two Hamas officials from the exiled political leadership left Cairo for Damascus on Wednesday after discussions with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and Gaza-based Hamas leaders, an airport source said.
Amos Gilad, a senior aide to Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, is due in Cairo on Thursday "to discuss recent developments in Egyptian and international initiatives," an Israeli official said. He is planning also to meet Suleiman, the source added, according to AFP.
Abul Gheit said that the Mubarak's plan, launched on January 6, calls for an "immediate ceasefire and acceptance of withdrawal" of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip. He said that the opening of crossing points into the Palestinian territory requires talks on "who must be on the crossing points and if the presence of other parties is required... we will discuss this."