Egypt's Morsi meets Hamas PM

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IOL pic july10 egypt morsi Reuters (File image) Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi

Cairo - Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi met on Thursday with Ismail Haniya, prime minister of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, state television reported.

The Egyptian state broadcaster quoted Egyptian presidential spokesman Yasser Ali saying the meeting was the latest in a series the recently-elected president is holding with Palestinian leaders to discuss measures to ease Israel's blockade on Gaza.

The two were reported to have discussed ways to facilitate the easing of movement of Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt “in accordance with relevant laws.” No concrete steps were announced.

Last week Morsi met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, of the rival Fatah movement that governs autonomous areas of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Egypt announced the opening of its border with Gaza after the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, but severe restrictions have remained in place.

Observers expected the election of Morsi to lead to a more sympathetic Egyptian stance towards Hamas, which as an offshoot of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood was viewed with suspicion by Mubarak.

Hardline Islamist movement Hamas won a Palestinian parliamentary election in 2006 and seized control of the Gaza Strip a year later after routing rival Fatah forces loyal to Abbas. - Sapa-dpa

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