Cease fire talks in Cairo .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A senior Hamas official said on Tuesday that his group was locked in "difficult" talks in Egyptian-mediated efforts in Cairo to forge a lasting cease-fire in Gaza with Israel.
"We are facing difficult negotiations. The first truce passed without notable achievements. This is the second and final cease-fire," Palestinian news agency Ma'an quoted Mousa Abu Marzouk as saying in light of the three-day halt in fighting that started Sunday.
Last week, Hamas refused to extend
a first 72-hour halt in fighting with Israel unless their demands, particularly the opening of border crossings with Gaza and the construction of a seaport, were met.
A Palestinian official with knowledge of the cease-fire talks in Cairo told Reuters on Tuesday that another day was needed in the indirect talks before it would be evident whether a truce between Israel and Hamas could be achievable.
"So far we can't say a breakthrough has been achieved ... Twenty-four hours and we shall see whether we have an agreement," said the official speaking on condition of anonymity.
According to an Israel Radio report, Israeli officials predicted Tuesday that another 72 hours were be needed to cement a long-term cease-fire deal with Hamas, in addition to the three-day truce
that went into effect on Sunday.
The radio station reported that the delegation was expected to agree to ease some restrictions in Gaza, including extending fishing rights, increasing the number of materials that enter Gaza, along with Israel allowing funds to enter the Strip to be used to pay the salaries of Hamas officials.
The Israeli delegation reiterated that it was not going to give any concessions regarding Hamas's demands to open a seaport and airport in Gaza.
However, a report by the BBC quoted an official in Cairo as saying that the Palestinian delegation had waived, for now, an Israeli proposal to allow a seaport in Gaza pending the demilitarization of the Strip and the disarming of Hamas.
Hamas has shown no inclination to disarm in talks thus far.
An Israeli official told Israel Radio that there had been no progress in the talks so far, as the gaps between the sides remained too vast.
Meanwhile, a member of the Palestinian delegation to Cairo said on Tuesday that the negotiating team now in the midst of cease-fire talks, was not prepared to waive any of its demands which have been presented during the first round of the Egyptian-mediated talks.
However, the source told the al-Quds
newspaper, that members of the delegation, including representatives from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad were willing to accept a gradual opening of the seaport and airport in the enclave.
That issue has proved to be the main stumbling blocks during talks, according to the source.
The delegation held a meeting Monday that lasted more than 10 hours, as the Egyptian mediators tried to bridge the gaps between the the Israelis and the Palestinians. Reuters contributed to this report.
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