Thursday, October 19, 2006

Israel accepts Egypt's plans for soldier's release

Min. Ben-Eliezer: Israel accepts Egypt's plans for Shalit's release

By Avi Issacharoff , Haaretz Correspondent and Reuters

Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said on Thursday that Israel accepts many of Egypt's ideas on how to conduct negotiations over the release of an Israel Defense Forces soldier being held by a Hamas-linked group.

"We are looking forward to and we have accepted the framework that has been crystallized by the Egyptians," Ben-Eliezer told reporters after talks in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

But it was not immediately clear if Mubarak had floated any proposals beyond those he made after Palestinian militants captured an Israeli soldier near Gaza on June 25.

According to the proposal, the Palestinian militants would free the soldier in return for an Israeli commitment to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners at a future date.

Egypt blamed the Islamist group Hamas for preventing a deal on those terms.

Cairo has been mediating between the two sides on and off for more than three months, without any apparent progress.

Ben-Eliezer said the Egyptian government was working hard to bring about stability in the Middle East and "to change the situation in the south of Israel and mainly in Gaza".

Asked about a prisoner swap in exchange for the Israeli soldier, he said: "Because today the Egyptians are running the whole thing, I don't want to go into details."

"Egypt, as the leading power and the leading nation in the Arab world, knows exactly the sensitivity on both sides and I believe that they could come, they have come with a framework that will be accepted," he added.

Hamas, Fatah to meet in Cairo
Hamas and Fatah members will meet in Cairo in the next few days,a Palestinian Legislative Council spokesman said on Thursday morning, as negotiations continue to try and find a solution for the Palestinian government.

According to the PLC spokesman, during the meeting, Fatah and Hamas officials will discuss a new Egyptian initiative for a unity government in the Palestinian Authority.

The PLC spokesman also said the rival factions will discuss the release of Shalit.

Hamas, Abbas spar over technocrat gov't
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas sees a government of technocrats as the best alternative to a national unity government, an adviser for Abbas said on Wednesday.

However, if no agreement is reached on a technocrats' cabinet within two or three weeks, a referendum would be held on whether to hold elections, Abbas' media adviser Nabil Amr said.

The idea of a technocrats' government, in which all cabinet members would be independent professionals and experts in their fields, rather than politicians, has gained the support of Fatah and several independent leaders and is being viewed favorably by Hamas, he said.

Hamas: May accept Abbas idea

PA spokesman Ghazi Hamed said Wednesday that Hamas is considering acceding to Abbas' plan to form a cabinet of technocrats to ease international sanctions on the impoverished Palestinian territories.

A few hours later, Hamed denied that Hamas was considering Abbas' idea favorably.

Hamed told the Palestinian news agency Ma'an that Arab mediators are currently in the process of formulating an agreement between Hamas and Fatah on the possible new government.

Hamas sources told Haaretz that Hamas was willing to add experts to the Hamas-led government, but would not go beyond that.

The sources said Damascus-based Hamas politbureau head Khaled Meshal did not support the idea of setting up up a national unity government for just a year, and then have early elections at the end of 2007.

1 comment:

William said...

All rather sad in a way. The Egyptians pulled out of the prisoner deal just before it was about to be signed because they couldn't Omar Suleiman fell out with Khalid Mishal.

Meanwhile, the Egyptians, the Brits, the Americans, the Israelis and Abu Mazin have been manipulating the game to force another general election since the day Hamas was elected. Privately they have SAID SO. We live in a pathetic world.