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Palestinian delegation arrives in Cairo to press for Gaza ceasefire

Aug. 3, 2014 10:58 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 4, 2014 2:52 A.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Representatives of the PLO, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad arrived in Cairo on Saturday from their offices in the West Bank, Doha, Damascus, and Beirut, with Hamas officials from Gaza expected to join soon.

Despite the fact that Israel reiterated on Saturday that it had no interest in taking part in ceasefire talks, Palestinian officials continued to try to work for a peaceful solution.

Hamas has insisted that any ceasefire also include an end to the eight-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has crippled the territory's economy without reducing Hamas' military capabilities, which was Israel's aim in imposing the siege.

The United Nations also backed the goal of ending the siege, although Israel has refused to consider it.

A Ma'an reporter accompanying the delegation confirmed that the West Bank delegation consisted of senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, director of the Palestinian Authority's general intelligence service Majid Faraj, and representatives from two leftist parties: Qays Abdul-Karim from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Bassam al-Salihi from the Palestinian People's Party.

Senior Hamas officials Muhammad Nasr and Izzat al-Rishiq arrived from the Qatari capital Doha and were joined by Mousa Abu Marzouq, who was already in Cairo. A representative of the Islamic Jihad, Ziad al-Nakhala, joined the delegation from Beirut.

In addition, a representative from the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Mahir al-Tahir arrived from Damascus.

Two Hamas officials from Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya and Imad al-Alami, are expected to join the delegation along with Islamic Jihad official Khalid al-Batsh and Fatah official Faysal Abu Shahla.

A delegation from the US state department including senior adviser on Middle East issues Frank Lowenstein also arrived in Cairo Saturday.

Onlookers expect representatives of the UN and the international Quartet to join Cairo talks.
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