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Egypt looking into opening representative office in Gaza: Hamas

Egyptian move would consolidate new diplomatic relations between Gaza Hamas and Cairo while EU offers its support for the recent reconciliation deal between Palestinian factions

Saleh Naami , Monday 9 May 2011
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The Gaza government’s minister of foreign affairs and planning, Mohamed Awad, has said that the Egyptian government is looking into soon reopening its office of representation in the Strip. The move, part of a new diplomatic outlook, would facilitate connections between the Palestinian people of all sectors and factions.

In a news conference in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, Awad said that time is now right for Egypt to take clear decisions to permanently open the Rafah border crossing and facilitate the movement of Palestinians without exceptions. He added that Cairo had promised to fully open the border crossing to improve conditions and eventually reach economic and trade cooperation.

Asked about the fate of the 2005 agreement regulating operations at the Rafah border crossing, Awad said: “We have some concerns about the 2005 agreement, but we are ready to discuss them to serve everyone’s interests and ensure easy, comfortable passage for travellers.”

As for the wider consequences of the reconciliation deal signed last week between Fatah and Hamas, Awad revealed that his government contacted European states to assess their position. Europe supports the deal and is uninfluenced by recent decisions and pronouncements by Israel.

Regarding the role of his government in reaching reconciliation with Fatah, Awad said: “We adopted the reconciliation deal to unite Palestinian ranks and sought to connect with international institutions, such as the UN and EU, as well as civic and human rights groups who are concerned with Palestinian affairs. We also contacted a number of Arab and European foreign ministers through direct messages and telephone calls to clarify opinions and garner support for reconciliation.”

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