French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday Israel and the Palestinian Authority had accepted a truce plan for Gaza announced by Egypt on Tuesday.
"The president is delighted by the acceptance by Israel and the Palestinian Authority of the Franco-Egyptian plan presented last night in Sharm el-Sheikh by (Egyptian) President (Hosni) Mubarak," said a statement from Sarkozy's office according to Reuters news.
"The head of state calls for this plan to be implemented as quickly as possible for the suffering of the population to stop."
"Within 8 days"
A senior French official said earlier on Wednesday an Egyptian plan for a ceasefire to end Israel offensive in Gaza could lead to an Israeli troop withdrawal from the Gaza Strip within eight days,
Egypt said on Tuesday it was proposing an immediate truce between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, to be followed by talks on long-term border arrangements and an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
"Within four to five days, there could be an agreement (between Egypt and Israel) on securing the borders and that could lead to a withdrawal within eight days by the Israeli army," the senior official in French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office told reporters.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced his ceasefire proposal at a joint news conference with Sarkozy on Tuesday night, at the end of the French president's two-day tour of the Middle East aimed at bringing an end to the Gaza offensive.
More than 600 Palestinians have been killed in Israel violence.
The official added that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Sarkozy met in Damascus on Tuesday, backed Egypt's plan.
A senior Hamas official, told Al Jazeera: "We are discussing all the initatives that have been put forward. We cannot say there is a specific decision on this initative."
Israel also said on Wednesday that talks were still underway with Egypt over a ceasefire proposal for the Gaza Strip despite French President Nicolas Sarkozy's announcement.
Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said: "The talks continue on the basis of that initiative."
Last Mod: 08 Ocak 2009, 09:04