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Palestinian militants call truce with Israel

world Updated: May 01, 2008 01:24 IST

Agencies
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Palestinian factions meeting in Cairo for talks with Egyptian security officials have agreed to an Egyptian proposal for a truce with Israel starting in the Gaza Strip, state news agency MENA said on Wednesday.

“All the Palestinian factions have agreed to the Egyptian proposal on a truce with Israel,” MENA said, citing an unnamed high-level Egyptian official.

The official said the Egyptian proposal included a “comprehensive, reciprocal and simultaneous truce, implemented in a graduated framework starting in the Gaza Strip and then subsequently moving to the West Bank,” MENA added.

“This proposal is a phase of a broader plan that aims at providing an appropriate atmosphere before lifting the blockade and ending the state of Palestinian division,” it said.

Egypt invited 12 Palestinian groups for talks to form a consensus on a proposal for a six-month ceasefire, floated by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas last week.

Although it wants Palestinians to stop firing missiles across the border, Israel has dismissed the offer as a Hamas ploy to gain time to prepare for more fighting. “We are in favour of the truce, on the condition that it be balanced, reciprocal, equal and comprehensive, to include Gaza and the West Bank as well,” Talal Nagy of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command said on Wednesday.

The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said on Tuesday it had approved a truce with Israel starting in the Gaza Strip, but reserved the right to respond to Israeli attacks in the West Bank.

Olmert meets Jordan king

Meanwhile in Amman, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held talks with King Abdullah II on the West Asia peace process during a surprise visit to the Jordanian capital on Wednesday, the palace said.

“The king stressed the need for Palestinian-Israeli negotiations to lead to an agreement based on a two-state solution before the end of this year,” it said in a statement.