Jan 18, 2009, 4:48 PM
Egypt hosts summit on Gaza

European and Middle Eastern leaders were in Sharm el-Sheikh for a summit on Sunday in efforts to shore up ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon who was in Damascus for talks with the Syrian president was to fly to the summit.


The summit came as Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire at 2:00 am (0000 GMT). Hamas also announced a one-week truce on Sunday to allow the Israeli troops to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.


Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Turkey are present at the Red Sea resort.


Mubarak and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who arrived in Sharm to co-chair the summit, launched a truce plan for Gaza on January 6.


Ahead of the summit, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Cairo to discuss implementing "the other phases of the Egyptian truce plan," Egypt's official MENA news agency reported.


They discussed how to reopen Gaza's "crossing points, lift the blockade and mobilize humanitarian and reconstruction resources" in the beleaguered territory.


Abbas was scheduled to attend the summit. However, Israeli leaders were not invited, a senior Egyptian diplomat told AFP.


Israel’s 22-day war on the Gaza Strip left more than 1,200 Palestinians dead, many of them civilians.






News Code 31808

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