Egypt, Israel to sign Gaza border deal

Egypt and Israel will officially sign a new protocol that will authorise the deployment of 750 Egyptian security guards along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

    Amos Gilad (L) meets Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman

    Aljazeera's correspondent in Cairo on Tuesday quoted Egyptian sources as saying that the agreement had been finalized during the visit made by Amos Gilad, Sharon's strategic coordinator for the pullout.

    Israel had insisted that the Egyptian troops’ deployment be limited to a 14-kilometer-square piece of land adjacent to Gaza, the source said.

    Israeli officials said that Israel and Egypt had agreed in principle on Monday for an Egyptian security force to deploy along the border to enable a complete Israeli pullout from the occupied territory.
       
    The deal would permit 750 special border police to replace Israeli troops along the boundary with the key task in Israel's eyes of preventing arms smuggling to Palestinian groups.

    "An agreement has been reached which has resolved all the main obstacles and opened the way for the formulation of a full military protocol," an Israeli Defence Ministry source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday.
       
    "The final deal has yet to be signed, but we have hammered out the details for the military arrangements," a ministry spokesman added without elaborating. 

    An Israeli security source said a "general understanding" had been reached between Gilad and Egyptian intelligence chief 

    Omar Suleiman during talks in Egypt. 

    Israel intends to evacuate all Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip this month under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to "disengage" from conflict with the Palestinians.
       
    Sharon has said Israel would only remove troops from its so-called Philadelphi security corridor along Gaza's Egypt boundary, the scene of much bloodshed with Palestinians since 2000, if Cairo took security responsibility in the area.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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