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Hamas Official Says Ties with Cairo Are ‘Improving’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A view shows the border area between southern Gaza Strip and Egypt, June 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Gaza- Gaza’s ruling party, Hamas, announced on Sunday that ties with Egypt have been improving substantially.

“Hamas’ delegation which recently visited Egypt found unparalleled understanding on the level of officials on Cairo’s ability to play a significant role in mitigating crises striking the Gaza Strip,” said Hamas Senior political leader Khalil al-Hayya.

Speaking to a group of reporters in Gaza city, Hayya said that the group’s relations with Iran are stable, and that developing them is a goal underway.

“We do not hide it (referring to Hamas-Iran ties) nor are we ashamed of it.”

Hayya added in his statement that Hamas had recently improved its relationship with Egypt.

Egypt, the only country sharing a border with Gaza, has upheld the Israeli blockade since President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood-led government in 2013.

Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya al-Sinwar and a delegation of other Hamas officials visited Egypt earlier in June to reportedly discuss Hamas’ relations with Egypt and possibilities of opening the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Palestinian territory by September, in time for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Commenting on Qatar demanding that a number of Hamas officials leave its capital, Doha, Hayya said that Hamas is already in the process of redistributing its political weight after having held internal elections.

“We will not be a burden to anyone– Palestine is an honor to all who approach it and we are concerned that Hamas’ central relations reach all wherever Palestinians are,” said Hayya.

Hayya claimed departure of Hamas political leaders from Qatar was part of a redeployment plan following the election of Gaza-based Ismail Haniyeh as Hamas politburo head in May, adding that “Hamas’ main headquarters is Gaza, and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh won’t leave Gaza except for foreign visits.”

“Haniyeh will not change his address except on short visits,” said Hayya.

Hayya also said on Sunday that the departure of a number of Hamas leaders from Qatar was not due to them being expelled from the Gulf state following several regional powers severing ties with Qatar, Hamas’ major backer, earlier this month.