Israeli FM in Egypt for talks on Gaza truce

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Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi arrived in Cairo on Sunday for talks with senior Egyptian officials over the ongoing ceasefire in place between Israel and the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The trip is the first formal visit by an Israeli Foreign Minister to Egypt in nearly 13 years, dpa news agency reported.

Ashkenazi is due to meet with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukri.

Ashkenazi said he would discuss in Egypt a permanent ceasefire with Hamas and the rebuilding of Gaza that was largely devastated during 11 days of bloody fighting with Israel earlier this month.

A ceasefire, mediated by Egypt, has been holding between Israel and the Hamas since May 21.

The 11-day conflict in an around the Gaza Strip left at least 243 Palestinians and 12 Israelis dead.

“We will discuss establishing a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, a mechanism for providing humanitarian aid & the reconstruction of Gaza with a pivotal role played by the international community,” he said on Twitter.

He added that Israel is “fully committed” to the return of its soldiers being held by Hamas.

Egypt was the first Arab country to recognise Israel in 1979.

Egypt, which borders Gaza, has mediated in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on several occasions.

–IANS

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