Senior adviser to Turkish PM Davutoglu verified that Gaza leaders are negotiating a lifting of Israel’s blockade of the strip.
A long-term ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian Islamist group Hamas is currently being negotiated, a senior Turkish official said on Sunday.
“Gaza is heading towards a comprehensive agreement on the issue of lifting the blockade and opening the [border] crossings in a long-term ceasefire deal with Israel,” said Yasin Aktay, a senior adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
“The issue was discussed during [Hamas chief] Khaled Meshaal’s visit to Ankara last week,” he added, noting that Meshaal discussed the detail of an agreement mediated by former British prime minister and Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair.
Hamas recently held meetings with representatives from the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip during which it updated them with the details of talks with European and American officials about a ceasefire with Israel.
A spokesperson for Hamas said that any proposal offered regarding a ceasefire will be presented to the Palestinian factions.
Hamas representatives also gave details of the meeting between Blair and Meshaal in Doha, which was reported by Palestinian and Arab media on Thursday.
According to the reports, Blair met Meshaal for the second time in a month and a half and the two discussed the implementation of the ceasefire with Israel in exchange for lifting the blockade on Gaza.
According to London-based Arabic-language daily al-Hayat, Israel agreed to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip, imposed in 2007, “entirely” as well as establish a naval passageway between the strip and Cyprus. In exchange, Hamas would agree to a long-term ceasefire which would last between seven to 10 years.
Both Israeli and Hamas officials have confirmed indirect talks have been occurring through European mediators, and similar reports in March of a a long-term ceasefire by Hamas in exchange for the lifting of the blockade were strongly denied by the group.
Blair has recently consulted with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi and the head of Egyptian intelligence on the issue, along with Jordanian, Saudi and Israeli officials, according to reports.
The reports of the meeting between Blair and Meshaal come after a top-level delegation led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special envoy, Isaac Molho, held talks in Cairo on Tuesday with Egyptian military representatives.
The visit by the five-person delegation reflects the greatly improved ties between Israel and Egypt since Sisi came to power two years ago. No details of the talks were divulged.
In May, ahead of Egypt’s presidential election, Sisi declared that his country’s peace pact with Israel was stable and offered to mediate talks between Israel and the Palestinians aimed at reaching a negotiated agreement.
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