GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories, (AFP) — Hamas on Friday hailed the meeting between its leader in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, and Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, saying it represented a “turning point” in relations.
“The meeting between (prime minister Ismail Haniya) and the Egyptian president (Mohamed Mursi) constitutes a real turning point in bilateral relations,” Haniya’s spokesman in Gaza, Taher al-Nunu, said in a statement.
The Thursday meeting in Cairo “touched on strategic issues, and bodes of a future of joint work,” Nunu said.
“The prime minister is comfortable with the results of his meeting with Mursi,” Nunu said.
Haniya’s visit to Cairo, a week after Mursi met with Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal, came days after Palestinian officials said Egypt had eased visa requirements for Gazans under 40.
Last week, Haniya had hailed the meeting between Mursi and Meshaal as a “fruit of the revolution” that overthrew Mursi’s predecessor Hosni Mubarak early last year. Hamas is an offshoot of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 after routing Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah from the territory neighbouring Israel and Egypt, hoped Mursi’s election victory would strengthen its position.
Gaza has been under semi-blockade by Israel and Egypt since Hamas took over the enclave. Mubarak eased the blockade under pressure in 2010, but did not allow commercial traffic through the Rafah border crossing as Hamas had hoped.
Mursi met Abbas and Meshaal last week, after saying that he would not favour either of their factions as Egypt attempts to reconcile them.