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Hamas’ Haniyeh Arrives in Egypt to Negotiate Easing Gaza Siege | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Ismail Haniyeh, Asharq Al-Awsat

Ramallah- Head of the political bureau of the Hamas movement Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Cairo on Saturday for his first foreign visit after being elected as head of the movement last May.

Hamas said that Haniyeh arrived heading a delegation composed of senior movement officials to meet with Egyptian officials and discuss many important issues, especially bilateral relations with Egypt and ways to develop them and enhance understandings with Cairo. Other topics of interest to the parties were also addressed.

The delegation will also discuss the latest national issue and ways to restore the unity of the Palestinian people and achieve national reconciliation.

Haniyeh along with other diplomats would discuss ways to strengthen previous understandings to ensure direct Egyptian intervention to ease pressure on Gaza, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Gaza has been put under siege and subject to stringent measures taken by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas against the movement in ruling the Strip.

Haniyeh is accompanied by the head of the movement in the Gaza Strip Yahya al-Sinawar and member of the Political Bureau Khalil al-Hayya. The delegation also includes one of the prominent leaders of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in an indication that the meetings will discuss issues of a security nature as well as political understandings.

Al-Qassam Brigade is the chief reason Egypt has taken national security to extra lengths at.

Reports over the summer said that a Hamas delegation had traveled to Cairo for third party talks with Israel over a prisoner exchange deal that would see the release of four to five Israelis held captive by Hamas, however neither side suggested it would be on the agenda during this visit.

Haniyeh will try to convince Egypt to end its crippling blockade on Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Egypt joined Israel in its siege on Gaza in 2013, following the overthrow of President Mohamad Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has accused Hamas of aiding Muslim Brotherhood militants in Egypt and enforced a blockade on the Palestinian territory.

Hamas issued a statement saying Haniyeh would discuss “mechanisms to ease the siege on Gaza and other issues of mutual concern” with Egyptian officials.