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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Truce talks provide hope for Somalia and Palestine

The Egypt-brokered truce deal between Israel and Hamas regarding the Gaza portion of Palestine continues to move forward, and the new peace initiative out of Somalia is providing hope and inspiration to many in Mogadishu and other war-torn regions of this beautiful African country.

Peace 2 All,


Hamas officials in Egypt to discuss potential truce with Israel

CAIRO, Egypt: Top Hamas leaders opened discussions Sunday with Egypt's chief of intelligence to work out a truce between the militant group and Israel, officials said.

On Thursday, Israeli negotiator Amos Gilad was in Egypt to convey his country's position on the latest Egyptian proposal in talks that have dragged on for months.

The officials said Moussa Abu Marzouk and Mohammed Naser were discussing with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman these proposals.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Both sides have set tough conditions for a truce.

Israel wants Hamas and Egypt to stop the smuggling of weapons into Gaza and to promise progress in the talks to release Cpl. Gilad Schalit, an Israeli soldier snatched by Palestinian militants two years ago.

Hamas, for its part, is demanding Israel lift a blockade of Gaza that has imprisoned most of the territory's 1.4 million residents and caused widespread shortages of fuel, electricity and commercial goods.

Israel virtually sealed off Gaza after Hamas violently seized control of the territory in June last year. Continued Palestinian attacks from Gaza into the Jewish state have prompted Israel to intensify the restrictions on the entrance of fuel and commercial supplies.

The new round of mediation comes amid reports that Israel has dropped an earlier demand to include the release Schalit in any deal.

Hamas and Israel refuse to speak to each other directly, preferring present their proposals through Egyptian mediation.

The negotiations are conducted under a shroud of secrecy in an undisclosed location outside Cairo.

A Hamas spokesman said Saturday that the group's delegation will not make any decisions immediately, Ayman Taha said "they will listen to what the Egyptians have to say and then return to consult with the group."

Full article at Hamas-Israel truce talks

World asked to Support UN-brokered Peace Deal for Somalia

The international community must help Somalia's rival factions implement a UN-brokered truce in the war-shattered east African nation, the UN special envoy for Somalia said.

In an interview, Ahmedou Ould Abdallah expressed optimism that the June 9 accord reached in Djibouti would bring a halt to more than 17 years of civil strife in the volatile Horn of Africa country.

"All Somali parties have initialed the agreement except two individuals who are regarded as terrorists by the UN Security Council and the Americans," said Ould Abdallah, who is accompanying UN chief Ban Ki-moon on a 24-hour visit to Saudi Arabia.

"Now the ball is in the court of the international community: The Europeans, the United States and the Arab League," he said on Saturday. "They must help the Somalis implement a ceasefire."

Full article at: Somalian Peace Treaty provides hope for Mogadishu

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