Egypt hopeful on Gaza talks

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Egypt is hopeful about a proposal for a truce and the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip but is waiting for a response on the plan from Israel and Hamas, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday.

Egypt, alarmed by the prospect of an Israeli ground operation in Rafah where more than one million people took shelter near its border, has made a renewed push in recent days to revive stalled negotiations between Israel and Hamas.

Along with Qatar and the US, Egypt has led efforts in recent months to broker a ceasefire deal for the conflict that would involve the freeing of Israeli hostages taken by Hamas on October 7 and of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

“We are hopeful the proposal has taken into account the positions of both sides, has tried to extract moderation from both sides, and we are waiting to have a final decision,” Shoukry said on a panel at a World Economic Forum meeting in Riyadh.

Talks between the US, Qatar, Egypt and Israel over hostages

“There are factors that will have impact on both sides … but I hope that all will rise to the occasion and recognise that we cannot have the situation of continuing loss of life.”

Hamas said on Saturday that it had received Israel’s position on the latest phased ceasefire proposal and would study it before submitting a reply. A Hamas delegation was due in Cairo on Monday to follow up on the talks.

Shoukry was speaking on a panel in Riyadh with Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, who said Israel’s government was responsible for opposing a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians that could bring lasting peace.

“(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu says he wants victory in Gaza but he has only brought a complete defeat for Israel … making Israel a pariah state,” Safadi said.

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