Saturday, February 21, 2009

Irate Egypt Recalls Delegation Feburary 19, 2009 - Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman says Israel's demand that captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit be released before a long-term Gaza truce deal with Hamas is struck is a blow to Egyptian mediation efforts between the two sides. Hossam Zaki says linking Shalit to the truce will "hinder any chances for a ceasefire."

Israel announced on Wednesday it would not open Gaza blockaded border crossings - a key Hamas demand - until Shalit is freed. The Islamist group, which controls Gaza, condemned the announcement.

Cairo has so far refrained from commenting on the cabinet's decision to set Shalit's freedom as a condition that could not be compromised on in the framework of any agreement with Hamas.

Amidst the diplomatic tensions, a visiting Egyptian delegation in Israel for routine quarterly discussions on Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ) arrangements between Egypt, Israel and the United States – was ordered to return home at once.

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