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Kerry proposes weeklong halt to fighting in Gaza Strip

CAIRO: Secretary of state John Kerry has proposed a two-stage plan to halt the fighting in the Gaza Strip that would first impose a weeklong truce starting Sunday, an official involved in the negotiations said on Friday.

As soon as the truce took effect, Palestinian and Israeli officials would begin negotiations on the principal economic, political and security concerns about Gaza, with other nations attending.

Important details of the plan remained under negotiation early Friday, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as the negotiations were at a delicate stage. Among the unresolved issues is an Israeli proposal that its troops be allowed to remain in Gaza during the temporary truce.  It was not clear if the final plan would be endorsed by Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, or by the Israeli cabinet.

Hamas’s political leader, Khaled Meshal, has stated that he would not accept an enduring cease-fire until his demands were met, including the lifting of an economic blockade on Gaza. But Meshal called Wednesday for a humanitarian truce to allow relief aid to reach Gaza, and the proposed start of the seven-day truce is intended to coincide with the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, which signals the end of Ramadan.
Agencies

Agencies

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