Hamas says full-proof cease-fire agreement with Israel still some time away

February 5th, 2009 - 3:13 pm ICT by ANI  

Jerusalem, Feb.5 (ANI): A Hamas official, Ahmed Yousef, has said that certain issues still needed clarification, such as whether a cease-fire agreement would last one year or 18 months and how much raw material and goods Israel would agree to allow in through the border crossings with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
“There is still some ambiguity regarding certain issues,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Yousef, Hamas deputy foreign minister and the former political adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, as saying from his office in Gaza City.
“Things don”t sound like they will be solved in one or two days. It needs more [time] than just that,” he said.
Yousef said earlier in the week that he believed it was likely that an agreement would be in place by Thursday. But on Wednesday, he said he hoped that a cease-fire agreement would be achieved before Israeli elections on February 10.
Yousef said that Palestinians need clarity regarding permanently opening all of the border crossings.
“This is the only way life can go back to normal,” he said.
In addition, he said the Hamas needed additional time to consult with other Palestinian factions, such as Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, “to make sure they will achieve a consensus regarding the cease-fire.”
Consensus was needed to ensure that everyone abided by the terms of any new agreement, he said.
However, an Egyptian official was more optimistic than Yousef on Wednesday and said Egypt, which is brokering the negotiations, was working hard to achieve a cease-fire agreement as soon as possible.
“We got a positive response from both sides. We expect to reach an agreement on a cease-fire within a few days. There are some details which need more negotiation but they are small details,” he said, declining to elaborate, the official said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that Israel would likely accept a cease-fire arrangement with Hamas if the terror group accepted the conditions stipulated by Egypt. (ANI)

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