Efforts to release Shalit will resume soon, Egypt says
Former ambassador to Israel Bassiouni says Cairo will soon resume mediation efforts to advance release of kidnapped Israeli soldier; Egyptian officials quoted by al-Hayat as saying Cairo will also work toward freeing Barghouti to strengthen Fatah’s position in West Bank
Cairo would soon resume its mediation efforts to advance the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Egyptian parliament member and former ambassador to Israel Mohamed Bassiouni said Saturday.
Egyptian officials told London-based newspaper al-Hayat that their country was also working to free Marwan Barghouti, Fatah’s former secretary-general in the West Bank who was detained by Israel in 2002.
According to the report, Egypt is seeking Barghouti’s release in a bid to bolster Fatah’s position in the West Bank after Hamas’ recent takeover of the Gaza Strip.
Bassiouni added that he believes dialogue between Hamas and Fatah would resume once the situation in the Palestinian Authority calms down.
He said Egypt will strive to embolden Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and even train the Palestinian security forces to this end.
As for the Egyptian security delegation to Gaza, which fled in the midst of the violent Hamas coup, he said, “We have clarified our position on the matter by taking the security delegation out (of Gaza) in protest of what happened with Hamas and because the situation in the Palestinian arena was unsafe.”