Hamas: No alternative to Egyptian mediation

“There’s no alternative to Egyptian mediation in the Palestinian reconciliation process,” announced a number of Hamas leaders and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) during a meeting with an Egyptian delegation of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and independent MPs. The meeting occurred on the sidelines of the Egyptian delegation’s visit to the Gaza Strip to demand the lifting of the three-year-old Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the territory.

PLC Vice-Chariman Ahmad Bahr said that Hamas was not against a reconciliation agreement. He added, however, that, “We want a reconciliation agreement that gives the Palestinians their dignity back, which rules out the Quartet conditions and those stipulated by the US.”

Bahr stated that “absolutely nothing” had come out of the Quartet’s past endeavors, saying, “We want Egypt to help us reach a just agreement.”

Leading Hamas member Ayman Taha, for his part, said: “We aren’t looking for an alternative to Egypt or to the Egyptian reconciliation document. However, we did not expect that our request for various amendments to the document relating to elections would lead to a breakdown of talks.”

Taha went on to stress that Hamas hoped to reach a final agreement with Fatah and end the current state of Palestinian disunity.

In response, an Egyptian government source criticized statements made by Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, in which the latter rejected the Egyptian position, which links the lifting of the Israeli blockade of Gaza to the reinstatement of the PLO as the enclave’s legitimate governing authority.

In related news, an Egyptian diplomatic source denied that the government was worried over recent statements by Turkish Prime Minister Ragib Erdogan affirming Turkey’s desire to serve as mediator between Fatah and Hamas. The source told Al-Masry Al-Youm that a number of other regional actors had previously expressed the desire to serve as mediators, but that nothing had changed.

For his part, Mustafa el-Fiqi, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the People’s Assembly, said he had “no objection” to the Rafah border crossing being placed under international supervision.

The Popular Committee to Break the Siege of Gaza, meanwhile, announced that another aid convoy would leave the Lawyers Syndicate headquarters for Gaza on Friday morning.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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