Hamas to resume talks with Egypt over Gaza free trade zone

Hamas Spokesperson Sami Abu Zahri has said that the Palestinian militant group will continue its efforts to convince the Egyptian government to establish an industrial and commercial zone in Gaza Strip.

During a seminar organized by the Gaza-based Atlas Center for Israel Studies, Abu Zahri said such a move would not mean that Egypt will assume full responsibility for the region that has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007. He said the efforts by Hamas are part of its policy to improve Gaza’s economic conditions.

Abu Zahri, according to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, said Gaza will not secede from Palestine and that no separate state would be established in the strip, claiming that such suggestions are promoted by Israeli media to justify the blockade against Gaza.  

Four months ago, Hamas said it had made an offer to the Egyptian government to establish a 1 million square meter free trade zone on the Gaza-Egypt border. Cairo rejected the offer at the time.

Abu Zahri added that pressure on Israel to open crossings with Gaza is going. He added that the ruling group's eagerness to improve the economic situation in Gaza does not suggest that it has abandoned armed resistance against the occupation.

Relations have strengthened between Hamas and Egypt following the election of President Mohamed Morsy, who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood, now Egypt's strongest political group and an organization with which Hamas is affiliated. The group was not on good terms with the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, who helped harden the Israeli blockade imposed against the strip since 2007 after Hamas took control.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm website


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