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Qatar says ‘progress to an extent’ in truce talks with Hamas | Israel-Palestine conflict News

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Negotiations are based on a plan calling for an Israeli withdrawal from ‘major population centres’ in Gaza and an initial six-week ceasefire.

Qatar says some progress in negotiations for a ceasefire in Gaza has been made and it is continuing mediation to “bridge the gap” between Israel and Hamas.

The Gulf state, Egypt and the United States have been engaged in months of truce talks involving a captive-prisoner exchange and getting desperately needed humanitarian assistance into war-battered Gaza.

“There was progress to an extent in the situation. We have continued our efforts without interruption over the last few days,” Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said at a news conference in Madrid with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares.

“We continue our endeavours, and there have been successive meetings with the Hamas movement in a bid to bridge the gap between the two sides and reach an agreement to achieve a ceasefire and exchange hostages and prisoners.”

Except for a seven-day pause in November, which led to the release of more than 100 Israeli captives and 240 Palestinian prisoners, there has been no break in the fighting since the war began in early October.

The negotiations are based on a plan US President Joe Biden laid out on May 31, which calls for an Israeli withdrawal from “major population centres” in Gaza and a ceasefire for six weeks, which could then be extended if mediators need more time to seek a permanent deal.

“Efforts are continuing, but so far, we have not reached a formula that we feel is the most appropriate and closest to what has been presented,” the Qatari prime minister said.

“As soon as this is done, we will communicate with the Israeli side to try to bridge the gap and reach an agreement as quickly as possible.”

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