27 July 2012

Egypt: Morsi Meets Haniyeh

Cairo — Gaza Islamist leader Ismail Haniyeh met Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday in an official visit that signaled a big shift in Cairo's stance toward the Hamas movement after the election of a Muslim Brotherhood head of state in Egypt.

A Palestinian official said the head of Egyptian intelligence had promised measures to increase the flow of fuel supplied by Qatar to Gaza via Egypt and needed to ease the small Palestinian territory's power shortages. The sides had also discussed increasing the flow of Palestinians across the border.

But there was no immediate sign that Cairo was ready to open up its border with Gaza to the extent sought by Hamas, something analysts partly attributed to the influence still wielded by the Hosni Mubarak-era security establishment.

In a statement, Hamas said Morsi had "promised to take measures that would ease the lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip". Morsi's spokesman said the meeting had touched on subjects including "lifting the siege and the suffering of the people in Gaza" and reconciliation with Hamas's arch-rival the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas.

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