Hamdan: Israel is fully responsible for its retreat from the truce agreement
Hamdan: Israel is fully responsible for its retreat from the truce agreement
Sunday, February 15,2009 12:14

Osama Hamdan, the representative of the Hamas Movement in Lebanon, on Saturday held Israel fully responsible for any retreat from the understandings of calm, adding that the Egyptian mediator should take a stance towards this Israeli procrastination.

Hamdan told Al-Jazeera TV channel that there was full agreement between Hamas and the Egyptian mediator about the understandings of the truce, but during the search for a final formula for the agreement, there was an Israeli retreat aimed to achieve gains in the last moments.

As for the statements made by Israeli premier Ehud Olmert that Gilad Shalit should be released in order for the truce to take effect, the Hamas representative underlined that the Cairo talks was about the truce, the siege lifting and the timeframe for the calm and it was agreed upon to separate the two files.

The Hamas leader noted that there was no ambiguity or implications during the talks, but there were clear understandings, adding that there is an attempt to tamper with the details of these understandings.

With regard to the guarantee for the Israeli implementation of the truce agreement, Hamdan stated that Egypt is the guarantor, adding the Egyptian mediator kept repeating and talking clearly about guarantees for over a month.

He expressed shock and dismay at the statements of the Egyptian foreign ministry in which it denied that Egypt pledged to guarantee the agreement, warning that such statements could have negative impacts on the efforts to reach a truce agreement.

In an exclusive statement to the PIC, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that there was separation between the truce issue and the file of the Israeli captive soldier during the Cairo talks, adding that Israel is still persistent in placing obstacles in the face of reaching a ceasefire agreement.

Barhoum also charged that Olmert, through his statements, is trying to score points in the interest of his party that will be involved in the formation of the new Israeli government.

For his part, Taher Al-Nunu, the spokesman for the Palestinian government, stated that there is no relationship between the truce issue and the prisoner swap deal because every file has its own requirements, noting that the discussions in Cairo did not link between these two files.

Nunu also said that the discussions with the Egyptians are ongoing, ruling out the possibility of declaring a truce at the present time unless all outstanding issues are resolved.

The Israeli government retreated Saturday from its agreement on the truce in return for opening the crossings and returned to its previous demand for the release of Shalit.

Olmert"s office said in a statement that the premier"s position is that Israel will not reach a compromise on the calm issue before the release of Shalit.