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Relations between Gaza and Egypt continue to improve in advance of Haniyeh visit

February 17, 2014 at 11:19 pm

After concluding meetings between Palestinian and Egyptian senior security officials, Palestinian Prime Minster Ismail Haniyeh is scheduled to meet his Egyptian counterpart this week, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Monday. The well-informed source quoted by Al-Hayat said that the security talks between officials from both countries led to several agreements related to the security dossier, the Rafah Crossing and official permission for Hamas to open an office in Cairo.

Regarding the security dossier, a committee is to be formed which will include Egyptian and Palestinian Hamas officials to follow up on border issues and the tunnels. It signals a new phase of Egyptian-Palestinian security cooperation which is planned to serve the interests of both countries.

The Palestinian members of the committee are the prominent Hamas leader Mosa Abu-Marzouq, former Health Minister Basim Naim, Ahmed al-Jabari and Haniyeh’s security advisor Ayman Taha. The newspaper said that there will be a more robust exchange of information in the future.

Prime Minister Haniyeh is heading to Cairo on Thursday where he is will to meet Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandeel and other senior officials on Friday. The two premiers will discuss the proposed free-trade zone on the Gaza-Sinai border. The opening hours of the Rafah border crossing will also be on the agenda, as will be options to solve the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip in a scheme involving neighbouring countries such as Egypt, Libya, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.

Haniyeh’s visit to Egypt is his second since Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi took office. It was on the first visit that Mr. Haniyeh was received in the Republican Palace in Cairo for the first time.

The Palestinian Prime Minister is due to leave for a tour to Asia, taking in Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries, on the 19th of this month.
and other countries, on the 19th of this month.