Egypt, Hamas agree on truce plan, await Israeli approval

January 16th, 2009 - 7:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Cairo, Jan 16 (DPA) Egypt and the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas have agreed to a five-step plan that calls for a ceasefire as of Saturday, an Arab newspaper reported Friday as a senior Israeli official arrived for talks in Cairo.The pan-Arab Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, quoting Egyptian officials, said Egypt and Hamas have agreed to the Egyptian truce initiative, which now needs the approval of Israel.

Under the plan, Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strips and Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel should stop Saturday and Israeli troops should begin a gradual withdrawal from the Gaza Strip the same day.

Aid and other goods would be allowed into Gaza following the ceasefire. Hamas and Israel would then consider a one-year truce that would be evaluated after it expires.

The fourth step calls for the opening of borders with the supervision of Egypt, Turkey and European countries. The Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza would be opened with the supervision of Palestinian and international authorities.

The plan also calls for Palestinian factions to reconcile after ending the crisis in Gaza.

Senior Israeli official Amos Gilad arrived in Cairo Friday to review the plan. Gilad’s visit was the second in less than 48 hours.

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