Egypt talks cease-fire with Palestinians

Jan. 25, 2009 at 11:25 AM

CAIRO, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Talks aimed at encouraging a new cease-fire between Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel resumed Sunday in Cairo, observers said.

Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman hopes to convince the Palestinian militant group Hamas to accept a long-term, cease-fire in exchange for Egyptian promises to pressure Israel into gradually lifting the security blockades it has imposed on crossings into the Gaza Strip, Ynetnews.com reported.

Suleiman is also reportedly intent on convincing the Palestinian Authority, led by the rival Fatah faction, to refrain from undermining attempts to reach a truce by criticizing Hamas as it did during a previous lull in hostilities with Israel. Reconciliation between the Palestinian factions was also on the agenda.

Sources told Ynet that Cairo was expected to work to convince Hamas to engage in serious negotiations with Jerusalem on the issue of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

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