Cairo, Aug 2 IANS | 5 months ago

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Saturday said that an Egyptian truce plan provided a "real chance" to end the 25-day Gaza conflict that has killed 1,654 Palestinians in the coastal enclave and urged both Israel and the Palestinians to implement it.

"The Egyptian proposal is the real chance to find a solution to the crisis in Gaza and to end the bloodshed," Xinhua reported citing Sisi as saying in a joint conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

"Time is limited, and we have to make full use of it to stop the bloodshed of Palestinians as soon as possible," Sisi added.

When the ongoing Gaza conflict broke out last month, Egypt outlined a ceasefire proposal, accepted by Israel but rejected by Hamas.

The Islamist group accused Egypt of ignoring it when formulating this proposal.

After the Muslim Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation late last year, the Egyptian government decided to further isolate its close ally -- Hamas, and relations between both sides became tense.

For his part, the Italian prime minister showed support for Egypt's proposal and called for the release of an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas.

"I join my voice to the voices of European ministers in calling for the release of the captured Israeli soldier," Renzi said.

A Palestinian delegation, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives, is expected in Cairo Saturday to discuss a long-term truce, a day after a temporary 72-hour ceasefire collapsed.

As many as 1,654 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed and 8,900 others injured in the Israeli offensive in the coastal enclave that began July 8.

A three-day ceasefire proposal collapsed in a few hours Friday, with the two sides accusing each other of breaking it.

(Posted on 02-08-2014)

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