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News number: 8710170480

17:48 | 2009-01-06


نسخه چاپي ارسال به دوستان

Sarkozy Holds Talks with Egyptian President on Gaza

TEHRAN (FNA)- French leader Nicolas Sarkozy who started a regional tour on Monday headed for talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak which is intended to end the Israeli army's massive attacks on the Gaza Strip.

The talks in Sharm el-Sheikh focused on "Egyptian efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire in Gaza ... and a return to the truce between Palestinians and Israelis," Egypt's official MENA news agency reported.

Sarkozy was to head to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank later on Monday where he is due to meet Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas before meeting Israeli caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem, AFP reported.

Sarkozy's visit followed similar talks between the Egyptian leader and an EU mission headed by the Czech foreign minister, whose country took over EU presidency on January 1, and his French and Swedish counterparts.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said the EU talks focused on pressing the UN Security Council to pass a resolution for achieving a ceasefire.

The United Sates, the closest ally of Israel in the region, torpedoed efforts by the Security Council on Saturday to reach agreement on a text calling for an end to hostilities.

The European foreign ministers also plan to visit Egypt. They will then head to Jerusalem, Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, and Amman, along with EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Solana said the EU was "working for a rapid ceasefire ... the faster the better."

The talks came as Hamas said it was sending a delegation to Egypt for talks on the war in Gaza, the first such contact since the fighting began on December 27.

"We have received an invitation from Egypt and we're going to Cairo to listen to Egyptian officials and discuss with them suspended issues, notably the (permanent) reopening of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip," the Beirut-based Hamas official Ossama Hemdan told AFP.

"We want an immediate end to Israeli aggression and the lifting of the blockade and we will listen to Egyptian proposals" on the subject, he added.

Hamas has said it would be open to a ceasefire with Israel if the Tel Aviv regime put an end to the Gaza blockade and open the crossings into the densely populated and impoverished enclave.