EGYPT TO HOST GAZA CEASE-FIRE TALKS

CAIRO, Egypt, Sept 21 – Egypt will host Gaza cease-fire talks between Israel and the Palestinians on Wednesday, in a bid to consolidate the truce reached in late Aug, state news agency MENA reported.

Indirect talks between the Gaza-ruling Hamas movement and Israel will resume on Wednesday, two days after the new reconciliation negotiations between Hamas and Fatah, the report quoted Egyptian officials as saying.

Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official and head of the Palestinian delegation during last month’s truce talks, has confirmed that indirect reconciliation talks will restart within days, and that “Egypt remains the sponsor of the reconciliation.”

Hamas and Israel agreed to a long-term cease-fire on Aug 26, under the mediation of Egypt, ending seven weeks of deadly Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. They said, reconciliation talks will be held within one month, over several unresolved issues, including the establishment of a seaport and an airport in Gaza, as well as releasing Palestinian prisoners, which was agreed on with Israel in a previous prisoner swap.

The offensive, which started on July 8, has left more than 2,100 Palestinians killed, mostly civilians,and 11,100 wounded.

Hamas attacks also killed at least 64 Israeli soldiers and five civilians.

SOURCE: MENA