Israelis, Palestinians poised to resume Cairo talks

AFP , Saturday 16 Aug 2014

Israel
Palestinian boy Mohammed Wahdan, whom medics said was wounded in Israeli shelling, is held by his aunt as he receives psychological care at Shifa hospital in Gaza City 14 August 2014. (Photo:Reuters)

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are poised to resume indirect talks with Egyptian mediators on reaching a more permanent ceasefire before a current truce expires at midnight on Monday.

The Egyptian government persuaded both sides late Wednesday to adhere to a new five-day ceasefire, extending an earlier three-day agreement in order to allow more time to thrash out a longer-term truce.

It got off to a rocky start with Palestinian rocket attacks and retaliatory Israeli air strikes, but Saturday marked a sixth day of quiet following more than a month of fighting that has killed more than 1,960 Palestinians and 67 on the Israeli side.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams are now expected back in Cairo for fresh talks, which the Palestinians said would begin on Sunday, after consulting their political leaders over the weekend.

The European Union welcomed the ceasefire in Gaza and said it was ready to expand a police mission in Rafah, on the border with Egypt, and train Palestinian Authority customs personnel and police for redeployment in Gaza.

Talks on Sunday are expected to resume on the basis of an Egyptian proposal, seen by AFP, which calls for a lasting ceasefire beyond Monday midnight, and new talks on the thorniest issues, including demands for a seaport and airport in Gaza, to begin in a month's time.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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