World Bulletin/News Desk
Hamas's prime minister in the Gaza Strip said on Friday he was confident Egypt's new president would shield the Palestinian enclave from Israeli attack and fully open its borders to end a trade blockade.
Mohamed Mursi, who won power in last month's presidential election in Egypt, is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and ideologically close to Hamas.
The Gazans long complained that his predecessor Hosni Mubarak, ousted from power last year in a popular revolt, sided not just with Israel, but also with their political rival -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.
So far, Hamas has seen little sign of a policy shift since Mursi took office and diplomats said the Egyptian leader had so many domestic problems that he could ill-afford to dedicate much time to re-tooling Cairo's relations with the Palestinians.
However, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas's Gaza government, told worshippers in a mosque that change was coming.
"We are confident that Egypt, the revolution led by Mursi, will never provide cover for any new aggression or war on Gaza," he said. "We are confident that Egypt, the revolution led by Mursi, will not take any part in blocking Gaza," he added.
Mubarak helped police the Gaza blockade and did not let any goods officially cross the border, saying this was part of longstanding accords with Washington and Israel. However, Cairo always turned a blind eye to a thriving blackmarket business with Gaza conducted through a warren of underground tunnels.
A few hundred people cross in and out of Gaza every day via Egypt and the number of passengers has increased since Mursi took office. However, officials on both sides explain this on the start of the holiday season rather than on any policy shift.
Mursi's position will soon be put to test when he meets officials from Hamas and Fatah.
Protocol means that Mursi will almost certainly see Abbas first, with one source saying it would happen on Wednesday. No date has yet been set for a Hamas delegation to be received.
Both President Abbas and Hamas are likely to be pressed by Egypt to end their long-standing hostilities, which at one point saw the two sides fight a brief civil war in Gaza.
"No one can help the Palestinians more than they can help themselves. They should take daring steps to end their rifts," an official in Cairo told Reuters by phone.
Repeated attempts at Palestinian reconciliation have ended in failure, with the two sides at loggerheads on everything from setting a date for elections to cooperating on security.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on November 30 to lower its monthly output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 32.5 million bpd as of January.
Lagarde, who served as finance minister until 2011, has always insisted she acted in France's best interests.
Amnest has condemned the use of force against protesters in provinces of North West and South West
The worlds oldest bank, Italy's Monte dei Pashci di Siena has said that the ECB has refused to give it extra time for finding funds to prevent bailout
'We may have crossed into a new threshold, and it is incumbent upon us to take stock of that,' top aide says
Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine all accuse him of having embezzled billions of dollars during his time as head of the Kazakh bank BTA.
CIA agents told the lawmakers it was "quite clear" that electing Trump was Russia's goal, according to officials who spoke to the Post, citing growing evidence from multiple sources.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo becomes fifth President of Ghana since 1992 return to constitutional rule
'We never intended to shut down the government,' says high-ranking New York lawmaker
Gerd Muller echoes Turkish criticisms that EU has failed to uphold its end of refugee deal reached in March
Chief appeals prosecutor files case against Greek court decision to not extradite 2 soldiers involved in Turkey coup bid
Aid workers as well as reporters have been vulnerable recently in the war-torn nation
President Sergio Mattarella would like it to be someone from Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which is still ahead in the polls despite the PM's fall.
Military officials say delay is due to many 'incidents'
Iraq-Jordan dual pipeline will transfer oil and natural gas, Jordan's energy minister says
Tsunami warning lifted for Pacific island and neighboring areas after tremor damages houses