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Israel, US, Qatar and Egypt to hold peace talks in Paris – Reuters

Feb 23, 2024

On Friday, February 23, Israel will take part in talks in Paris with the United States, Qatar and Egypt on a potential ceasefire agreement and the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip.

This was reported by Reuters.


The Israeli military cabinet approved sending negotiators led by Mossad intelligence chief David Barnea to Paris on Friday to negotiate a potential deal to free more than 100 hostages kidnapped from Israel in October who are still being held by the Hamas group.

Agency sources said that the meeting will also be attended by CIA Director William Burns, Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and Egyptian Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant said that the country's negotiators, who are negotiating the release of the hostages, are being given expanded powers.

The urgency of the diplomatic efforts is growing ahead of the Islamic month-long holiday of Ramadan, which begins on March 10.

"We're focused intensely on trying to get an agreement that results in the release of the remaining hostages and that produces an extended humanitarian ceasefire," US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told reporters in Brazil.

On Thursday, US Ambassador to the Middle East Brett McGurk held "constructive" meetings in Egypt and Israel, including with Netanyahu.

Blinken said that he, Burns, and McGurk "in constant communication and working every aspect of this".

However, a senior Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Reuters that Israel was responsible for the lack of progress and was backtracking on the terms it agreed to several weeks ago in a previous ceasefire proposal. "The (Israeli) occupation is not interested in achieving any agreement," he said.

There was no immediate reaction from Israeli officials. Netanyahu said that if Hamas showed flexibility, progress would be possible.

Hamas reported that Haniyeh had concluded his three-day visit to Cairo, where he met with Egyptian intelligence chief Kamel. They discussed ending the Israeli aggression, helping the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, returning displaced persons to their homes, especially in the north of the Strip, and exchanging hostages for Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Hamas says it will not release the remaining hostages unless Israel agrees to cease hostilities and withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip. Israel says it will not withdraw until Hamas is eliminated.

Author – Anastasiya Glotova, 23/02/2024

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