Mubarak, Olmert discuss on phone proposed Palestinian-Israeli truce

By Xinhua,

Cairo : Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday discussed on phone a proposed Palestinian-Israeli truce, the Egyptian MENA news agency reported.

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The two leaders also probed on means to lift the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, the MENA report said.

Egypt is expecting Israel to accept and implement the ceasefire proposal agreed on by the Palestinian factions, Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossam Zaki was quoted by MENA as saying earlier.

Zaki called for efforts to end military confrontation and achieve calm between the Palestinians and the Israelis, which is a good thing for civilians.

The Egyptian official stressed that Egypt is in contact with those responsible for the Gaza Strip and was working to implement the U.S.-brokered 2005 agreement on Rafah crossing, which stipulates the presence of European Union monitors as a third party on the border passage but rules out any Hamas involvement in the management of the crossing.

All Palestinian factions had agreed on an Egyptian proposal to achieve a period of lull in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The deal is expected to ease sanctions that Israel has been imposing on the territory since Hamas took over it last June.

Egypt’s intelligence chief Omar Suleiman will visit Israel next week to get the Israeli government’s acceptance to the ceasefire proposal. The Palestinian factions said the ball is in Israel’s court now.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit was scheduled to meet his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni in London on Friday for talks on the situation in the Palestinian territories and the developments of Palestinian-Israeli dialogue.