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No amendments to Gaza truce proposal: Egypt FM

Egypt's foreign minister says original ceasefire is 'complete' and won't bend to Hamas' demands, while UN chief calls for end to Israeli blockade

Ahram Online , Monday 21 Jul 2014
Egypt
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Egypt's Foreign Minister Samih Shukri attend a news conference in Cairo, July 21, 2014, (Photo: Reuters).
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Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in a joint press conference with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Cairo that a truce between Palestinians and Israelis proposed by Egypt and rejected by Hamas last week will not be amended.

Reuters had previously quoted three Egyptian officials saying Egypt may be ready to accommodate some of Hamas' demands, which include lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza and opening Egypt's Rafah border crossing with Gaza.

Shoukry denied there were intentions to make amendments in order to bring Hamas to the negotiating table, said a reporter with Al-Ahram's Arabic news website who was at the conference on Monday.

The foreign minister insisted Egypt's proposal provides a "complete" truce, saying it will ease the blockade on Gaza.

Gaza-rulers Hamas rejected the proposal on Wednesday, claiming they hadn't been approached directly, like Israel, and had instead heard about the ceasefire bid through the media.

The mounting death toll from Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Gaza has reached nearly 600 since fighting first broke out on 8 July. Twenty-six Israeli soldiers have been killed by Palestinian fighters since an Israeli ground invasion into Gaza began on Thursday.

Ki-moon said the UN is willing to make successful negotiations between the conflicting parties and called for a halt in hostilities to allow for aid to be transported to Gaza and urged the lifting of Israeli's blockade of the besieged coastal enclave.

For his part, Shoukry responded to criticism Egypt that has kept the Rafah border closed despite the crisis, saying it has opened the crossing in spite of national security threats, according to Al-Ahram.

Egypt has opened the border intermittently to allow tens of wounded Palestinians inside Egypt for treatment. Thousands have been injured in the Israeli bombardment and Gaza's hospitals are filled to capacity, according to medics.

On Monday, Egypt allowed four wounded Palestinians to pass through the border.

Egypt's state news agency MENA reported that the border will open on Tuesday to allow critical cases to seek medical treatment in Egypt.

 

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