Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Egypt's intelligence head meeting with Hamas tonight

From JPost.com:

Head of Egyptian intelligence Omar Suleiman was meeting Tuesday evening with members of a Hamas delegation on a possible prisoner exchange deal that would allow for the release of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

The Hamas delegation from Syria arrived in Cairo Tuesday afternoon, a day after US National Intelligence Director John Negroponte arrived for a two-day visit, officials at Cairo International Airport said.

US embassy officials declined to comment on Negroponte's visit, which coincided with that by Hamas officials who also arrived in Egypt Monday.

On Monday, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told his cabinet that "a deal to secure the release of Shalit [was] almost closed."

Former PA security commander Jibril Rajoub, who serves as an adviser to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was also due in Cairo for meetings with the Hamas delegation on solving the crisis in the Palestinian territories.

Meanwhile, Hamas representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan said that Israel had not yet agreed to the kidnappers' demands but that there were "positive signs."

"If Egyptian mediation fails, Hamas will still try to solve the issue but won't change its demands," Hamdan told BBC Arabic.

He said that the delegation in Cairo would try to "clarify the Israeli stance on the issue."

PA spokesman Ghazi Hamed said that Israel was being "stubborn" but that the general framework of a prisoner swap deal had been agreed upon

"Israel has agreed in principle to a prisoner exchange but we need more time to discuss the names of the Palestinians that would be freed," said Hamed.

1 comment:

William said...

Meanwhile Israel has closed Gaza to all NGOs for the past three weeks - even the UN hve been forbidden entry. Only diplomats acredited to the State of Israel and journalists acredited to the State of Israel are allowed in at present. An NCF delegation will attempt to get in next week. It is an interesting tactic however - step up the pressure the closer you get to a deal. As if Israel were trying to break the deal it is trying to negotiate. Sometimes it's very hard to understand Israel's tactics