Hamas leader: progress in Cairo talks, relationship with Iran strained

Deputy Hamas leader claims progress made in Cairo talks, requests Egypt’s help against Israel

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Hamas’s Deputy president Ismail Haniyah signalled progress in the normalisation of relations between Cairo and Gaza in an interview Friday.

“We have seen positive signs in regards to [Hamas’] relationships with Saudi Arabia and Egypt,” Haniyah told Turkey’s state run Anadolu Agency, “We are aiming to form transparent relationships with Arab states.”

“We are happy with all constructive steps taken towards reshaping relations with Saudi Arabia and Egypt,” he continued.

Delegations from Gaza’s ruling Hamas administration have periodically visited Cairo since early April to continue negotiations set on normalising relations with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The relationship between Hamas and Egypt soured after the military takeover of the Egyptian government by current president Abdel Fatal el-Sisi in 2013.

Since then Sisi’s government has accused Hamas of being a terrorist organisation, closing off Egypt’s border crossings with Gaza and constructing a multi-hundred-million dollar, 2 km-wide, buffer zone spanning the entirety of the Sinai-Gaza border.

Stating that Israel has not followed through on clauses of an Egyptian negotiated summer ceasefire with Gaza by reopening border crossings, Haniyah requested Egypt’s help in pressuring Israel to allow the passage of supplies into Gaza.

“Hamas is insistent that these clauses be implemented [opening of border crossings]. Egypt should pressure Israel into fulfilling these clauses,” he said.