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Harf: Washington will not 'directly' negotiate with Hamas

August 8, 2014 at 11:20 am

Washington says it will not directly engage in the mediation efforts in Cairo between Palestinian resistance factions and Israel, because Hamas is designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the State Department.

In her daily press briefing on Thursday, the US State Department’s deputy spokesperson Mary Harf confirmed the ceasefire was still in place at that time, but would expire on Friday morning, and that a US envoy, Frank Lowenstein, arrived in Cairo on Wednesday as part of Washington’s efforts to assist in the negotiations. However, she reiterated that her country would not be engaged in direct negotiations with Hamas officials.

Anadolu news agency reported that a Palestinian delegation met on Thursday with the head of Egyptian general intelligence, Mohamed Tohami, who briefed them on the Israeli response to their demands, including an end to the offensive and lifting the siege of Gaza.

The Israeli negotiation team returned to Cairo on Thursday evening after briefing Tel Aviv officials on the progress of the talks, a security source told Anadolu.

Earlier on Thursday, an official in Hamas’s military wing told Anadolu that it will continue the battle with Israel at 8:00 am on Friday if Israel does not fulfil the demands of the Palestinians.

Israel resumed air strikes in Gaza on Friday morning after Palestinian fighters fired rockets towards Israel that did not result in any reported damage.