Middle East

Abbas, in Turkey, calls for approval of cease-fire

Palestinian protesters gesture towards Israeli soldiers during clashes at the entrance of Israeli-run Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank village of Betunia July 18, 2014. (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani)

ISTANBUL: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas Friday urged support for an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire proposal in the Gaza Strip, as he held talks with Turkey's leaders on a brief stop-over after a visit to Cairo.

"Israel accepted the cease-fire proposal. We (the Palestinians) must also accept it so that we can put the Israeli side at unease," Abbas told a news conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Istanbul in comments translated from Arabic into Turkish.

Egypt-mediated talks to end the escalating Gaza Strip conflict have faltered amid Israeli plans to widen its ground operation in Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement.

Abbas voiced support for the cease-fire proposal which he said was floated by "our Egyptian brothers at our request."

Turkey, a staunch critic of the Israeli assaults in Gaza, is pressing for involvement of Hamas in any negotiations for a cease-fire.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood from power last year, has sought to isolate Hamas and initially demanded that the militants unconditionally accept its truce.





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