Negotiators from Egypt, Qatar, US, Israel commence Cairo meeting on Gaza ceasefire, prisoner swap

Ahram Online , Tuesday 13 Feb 2024

Talks between top negotiators from Egypt, Qatar, the United States, and Israel to resolve the Gaza crisis kicked off in Cairo on Tuesday, according to Al-Qahera news channel.

Israeli bombardments
This picture shows smoke billowing following Israeli bombardments over east Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 13, 2024. AFP


The talks aim to achieve a ceasefire in the strip and facilitate the exchange of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel and more than 100 Israeli captives held in Gaza.

The Cairo meeting includes Egyptian officials, CIA Director William Burns, and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, according to Al-Qahera News.

The Israeli delegation includes Mossad director David Barnea, Director of the Israeli Security Agency (Shabak) Ronen Bar, and Nitzan Alon, who is in charge of leading intelligence efforts to find the captives, according to Israeli reports.

The Cairo talks are taking place two weeks after a meeting that included Head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service (GIS) Abbas Kamel, Barnea, and Burns in Paris late in January.

Hamas proposed a three-phase proposal for ceasefire following the Paris meeting, which Israel rejected as “delusional.”

The Guardian quoted a senior Egyptian official as saying that the meeting seeks a final draft of a six-week ceasefire deal, while talks will continue through this period to reach a permanent ceasefire.

Ceasefire efforts have become more urgent amid Israel's planned assault on the densely populated city of Rafah on the Gaza-Egypt border.

The city is home to more than half of Gaza’s population, most of whom were displaced from other areas of the strip due to the Israeli attacks.

Reports have emerged, citing Egyptian officials who spoke to AP on Sunday, suggesting that Egypt might consider suspending the 1979 peace treaty if Israel proceeds with the internationally condemned offensive.

However, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry clarified the following day that Egypt remains committed to the four-decade-old agreement.

Hamas has warned that any Israeli offensive in Rafah would threaten the talks.

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