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Hamas proposes truce in exchange for Israel withdrawal

world Updated: Jan 16, 2009 15:21 IST

AFP
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Hamas has proposed a year-long truce with Israel if it pulls its troops from Gaza as a senior Israeli defence official was due back in Cairo on Friday to discuss an Egyptian plan to end the war.

Mussa Abu Marzuk, the Damascus-based deputy head of Hamas's powerful politburo, told AFP the offer was made by a Hamas delegation during talks in Cairo with Egyptian officials.

"Those were the movement's remarks on the Egyptian initiative, this is what we proposed," Abu Marzuk said in a telephone interview when asked about reports that Hamas had proposed a one-year-long renewable truce with Israel.

Hamas was waiting for Israel's response, he said early on Friday.

"We are waiting for an answer from Egypt after they talk to (Israeli envoy) Amos Gilad," Abu Marzuk said.

A Hamas official had said on Wednesday after meeting with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman that the movement had accepted the "broad outlines" of an Egyptian truce plan without approving it outright.

A Western diplomat familiar with the truce talks confirmed to AFP that Hamas had proposed a year-long renewable truce with Israel but said that the Jewish state expressed reservations.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak last week presented a three-point proposal to end Israel's offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, which has claimed the lives of some 1,100 Palestinians.

The initiative called for an immediate ceasefire and allowing humanitarian aid into the impoverished enclave as well as ending arms smuggling between Egypt and Gaza.

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