Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Atti (Photo: Ahram)
Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said on Friday that planned ceasefire talks in Cairo between Israel and Palestinian factions had not been cancelled, denying reports to the contrary.
"None of the parties has declined to attend; Egypt will be waiting for the delegations as scheduled,” he told Ahram Online by phone.
Deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, Moussa Abu-Marzouk, had said earlier on Friday to Al-Ahram Arabic website that Egypt had informed the Islamist movement that Israel had withdrawn from the planned talks.
Abu-Marzouk had said that the Israeli absence from negotiations in Egypt, along with its violation of the humanitarian truce on the same day, means the "collapse of talks."
Talks were scheduled to talk place in Cairo after a 72-hour humanitarian truce begun on 0500 GMT Friday in the Gaza Strip, where three weeks of Israeli military assaults have killed over 1,450 people. The truce was apparently broken several hours after it begun.
The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also denied reports that the talks are cancelled, saying that the joint Palestinian delegation, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, will travel to Cairo on Saturday for negotiations.
"Abbas has formed the delegation, which will head Saturday for Cairo whatever the circumstances," his office said in a statement reported by AFP.
Additional reports link the collapse of the ceasefire talks to the reported kidnapping of an Israeli soldier in Gaza.