- Middle East/North Africa
Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas government in Gaza, said Saturday that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has agreed to several resolutions that will improve conditions in the Gaza Strip.
In statements published by Gaza local newspaper Palestine, Haniyeh said he and Morsy agreed that the Rafah border crossing's working hours will increase to 12 hours per day.
This will increase the number of travelers from Gaza to 1,500 per day, and help to absorb all the Palestinians coming from abroad.
He said that Egypt will also work to increase the number of Egyptian workers at the border crossing to facilitate the movement of travelers.
Haniyeh had met with Morsy on Thursday in Cairo, where they also agreed that Egypt would stop deporting Gazans.
Hamas on Friday hailed Haniyeh's meeting with Morsy, saying it represented a "turning point" in relations.
"The meeting ... constitutes a real turning point in bilateral relations," Haniyeh's spokesman in Gaza, Taher al-Nunu, said in a statement.
Haniyeh's visit came a week after Morsy met with Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and days after Palestinian officials said Egypt had eased visa requirements for Gazans under 40.
Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since routing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah from the territory in 2007, hoped Morsy's election victory would strengthen its position.
Gaza, which neighbors Israel and Egypt, has been under semi-blockade by both countries since Hamas took over the enclave. Mubarak eased the blockade under pressure in 2010, but did not allow commercial traffic through the Rafah border crossing as Hamas had hoped.
Morsy has said that he will not favor either Hamas or Fatah as Egypt attempts to reconcile them.
Haniyeh said that he also agreed with Morsy that the power outages crisis in Gaza can be resolved over three phases. The amount of fuel needed to run the only power plant in the Gaza Strip will be increased, and the energy will increase from 22 to 30 megawatts. A gas supply pipeline will also be established.
“It was agreed that the number of trucks carrying Qatari fuel will be increased from 6 to 10 trucks a day into the Gaza Strip,” Haniyeh said.
He said that re-opening Egypt's consulate in the Gaza Strip has been discussed. The consulate was closed after Hamas took over. It has been suggested that a diplomatic delegation be sent there to help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians by facilitating their dealings with Cairo.
Haniyeh said that his government respects the sovereignty of Egypt, and the rules of entry and exit to and from Egypt. “We cannot provide any cover for any chaos in Sinai or any other part of Egypt,” he said.