File Photo: Hamas' deputy leader, Moussa Abu Marzouk, and Fatah representative Azzam Al-Ahmad in Cairo on April 27, 2011 (Photo: Reuters)
Representatives of Palestinian factions have arrived in Cairo for talks on ending the crisis in Gaza.
Members of the Palestinian delegation, headed by Azzam Al-Ahmed of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, include Ezzat Al-Rashq, Mohamed Nasr and Mousa Abou Marzouk of Hamas, Ziyad Nakhala of Islamic Jihad, Quis Abdel Kareem of the Democratic Front, Maher Al-Taher of the Popular Front and Bassam Al-Salehi of the People’s party, in addition to Maged Farag, the head of Palestinian Intelligence.
Other Hamas and Jihad representatives who were supposed to arrive from Gaza to Egypt failed to come for security reasons.
Preliminary meetings are supposed to start this afternoon, sources from the delegation told Ahram Online, in which the Palestinian factions will discuss the Egyptian initiative and try to reach a common perspective on it.
“All factions seem to accept the initiative,” the source said, “except for Hamas that still has its own reservations about it.”
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Saturday that there was "no alternative" to the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire talks to curb the violence in Gaza, affirming that the Egyptian ceasefire initiative was still on-going and capable of solving the crisis.
However, according to sources close to the Egyptian side, Egypt is flexible towards any details that the Palestinian factions would find appropriate to add to the initiative whether directly or indirectly. “The Egyptian side explained many times in the past few days that the main aim is to put an end to the bloodshed in Gaza and end the severe conditions in which civilians there are living in.”
The negotiations that are set to start on Sunday afternoon will be held in three phases: Reaching an agreement between the Palestinian factions concerning the Egyptian initiative, indirect negotiations with Israel through Egyptian mediators to reach a ceasefire or truce, then finally negotiating around the remaining matters, including the crossing to Gaza.
The negotiations will be taking part in the presence of US Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, who is expected to arrive later today and Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who arrived in Cairo on Saturday.
Egypt still hopes that Israeli officials will join the negotiations soon even though Israel made it clear that it won’t send a delegation to the talks in Cairo, saying there is “no point” in trying to reach a Gaza truce with Hamas.