Agreement near on Gaza ceasefire plan: Spanish FM
Hopes of an end to the Gaza conflict rise as Hamas responds to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire plan.
RAMALLAH – An agreement on an Egyptian initiative to bring about a ceasefire in Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza is very close, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said on Wednesday.
Moratinos, however, backtracked from a statement he had made earlier that the Islamist movement had accepted the Cairo ceasefire plan.
"I made the announcement according to the news of the official Egyptian agency (MENA)... afterwards I contacted official sources who told me that there has been a lot of progress but there are little details that need solved," he said in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
"We are very close to reaching ceasefire but there is still a lot of work to be done," the European Union's former Middle East envoy said following a meeting with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad.
An Egyptian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, had earlier said that Hamas had agreed to the proposal drawn up by President Hosni Mubarak and Cairo was awaiting a response from Israel.
"Since our arrival, we have had only one goal - to support the Egyptian initiative," Moratinos said earlier following a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem.
He went on to say he was "continuing to work with the same interest" to assure that Israel also adopts the initiative.
Senior Israeli defence ministry official Amos Gilad was planning to travel on Thursday to Cairo to discuss the details of the initiative to end Israel's 19-day-old offensive against the Islamist-run enclave.
Moratinos arrived in Israel after meeting Mubarak in Cairo on Wednesday morning.
[AFP / Expatica]