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The Interview

Palestinian FM: Israel, Hamas ‘on the verge’ of truce deal

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said that Israel and Hamas are holding secret talks on establishing a long-term truce.

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"I don’t have sources to confirm" that Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip, are holding secret talks, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told FRANCE 24.

"But if you listen to the Turks, to Hamas leaders, to some Israeli and Qatari leaders and even to some European leaders, it gives you all the information you need to confirm that there have been negotiations," Malki said. "They are on the verge of reaching an agreement about a truce of eight to 10 years."

The agreement would see Israel lift its blockade of Gaza and "allow maritime passage" to nearby Cyprus, Malki said.

"We don't know if it will happen tomorrow or in a month from now," he said. "But all indications are telling us that yes, there is a serious level of negotiations, there are mediators who are doing their utmost to reach this agreement."

On Monday, Israel denied it was engaged in "any meetings with Hamas, neither directly, nor via other countries or intermediaries".

The Palestinian foreign minister also welcomed a new peace plan floated by his French counterpart Laurent Fabius. However, he expressed "scepticism about the way countries have reacted to it, especially Israel and the United States, who have really blocked the possibility of the plan being translated into certain actions”.

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