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Hamas official confirms indirect talks with Israel

Feb. 17, 2013 9:51 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 18, 2013 5:55 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya on Sunday confirmed that the movement is holding indirect talks with Israel over the implementation of a ceasefire deal, but insisted that they did not amount to political negotiations.

Al-Hayya was commenting on a report on Israel's Channel 2 TV on Friday, which said Israeli and Hamas representatives had been negotiating for weeks.

The agenda of the talks include Israel permitting Egypt to open its Rafah border with Gaza to allow the entry of Qatari-donated construction materials, and the export of Gaza's agricultural products to Israel, according to the report.

Al-Hayya said the framework of the talks are solely the terms of the ceasefire deal which ended an eight-day conflict in November.

There are no contacts or meetings of a political nature, he said.

Hamas has historically opposed any negotiations with Israel, jibing the Fatah-led West Bank authorities for sticking to peace talks that have been on hold since 2010 and failed to end Israel's occupation.
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