Hamas: Egypt no longer key mediator in prisoners talks
Egypt's role in trying to broker a prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel is no longer central, a Hamas official said Saturday, Xinhua reported.
"Actually, the Egyptian role has become formally for a year since the German mediator took over," said Osama al-Muzini, a Gaza- based Hamas leader.
His remarks came amid increasing tension between Hamas and Egypt, going back to last year when Hamas rejected an Egyptian proposal to reconcile with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party and share power in Gaza with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
At the end of last year, a German mediator shuttled between Hamas and Israel in a bid to bridge the gaps that prevented the two sides from exchanging prisoners. Under a seemingly far away deal, Hamas would release Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held hostage since 2006, in exchange for up to 1,000 Arab and Palestinian prisoners.
The German mediator, who in December 2009 visited Israel, the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, where Shalit is believed to be held, and Damascus where exiled Hamas leadership is staying, failed to push the talks forward.
"There is nothing to resume talks with the Zionist enemy and we did not get any new offers that may contribute in restarting the negotiations," al-Muzini said in statements published by Felesteen, a Gaza-based pro-Hamas daily.
On June 25, Shalit completed four years in captivity.