Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

 

Welcome back to World Brief, where we’re looking at Hamas talks in Egypt on an Israeli cease-fire, a rocky presidential election in Congo, and the European Union’s landmark migration deal.

Top Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh traveled to Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the group’s ongoing war against Israel, including the possibility of establishing another cease-fire and renewing hostage negotiations. Egypt and Qatar continue to serve as prime intermediaries between Israel and Hamas. Senior Israeli officials meeting recently with CIA Director William Burns and Qatari mediators in Warsaw suggested that Israel would consider a weeklong truce if Hamas released 40 hostages. Around 160 Israelis remain in captivity after more than 100 others were freed in late November during a weeklong cease-fire. However, Basem Naim, a senior Hamas official, said both sides must agree to a complete cessation of hostilities before any more hostages are freed. Hamas also insists that Israel release a large number of Palestinian prisoners, including high-level militants—demands that Israel continues to reject. During the last prisoner swap, Israel freed around 240 Palestinians, mostly women and children. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains adamant that Israel’s war in Gaza will not end until Hamas is eliminated and Israeli hostages are freed. International pressure to secure a cease-fire continues to grow. On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council convened for a third day to debate a draft resolution that would establish a truce in Gaza to allow humanitarian aid into the region.


Back to the Drawing Board

Top Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh traveled to Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the group’s ongoing war against Israel, including the possibility of establishing another cease-fire and renewing hostage negotiations. Egypt and Qatar continue to serve as prime intermediaries between Israel and Hamas. Senior Israeli officials meeting recently with CIA Director William Burns and Qatari mediators in Warsaw suggested that Israel would consider a weeklong truce if Hamas released 40 hostages. Around 160 Israelis remain in captivity after more than 100 others were freed in late November during a weeklong cease-fire. However, Basem Naim, a senior Hamas official, said both sides must agree to a complete cessation of hostilities before any more hostages are freed. Hamas also insists that Israel release a large number of Palestinian prisoners, including high-level militants—demands that Israel continues to reject. During the last prisoner swap, Israel freed around 240 Palestinians, mostly women and children. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains adamant that Israel’s war in Gaza will not end until Hamas is eliminated and Israeli hostages are freed. International pressure to secure a cease-fire continues to grow.


Today’s Most Read


What We’re Following

Hourslong delays. The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s long-awaited presidential election got off to a rocky start on Wednesday. Polling stations opened hours after initially planned, long lines exacerbated security threats, and fighting among armed rebel groups prevented around 1.5 million people from voting. Incumbent President Félix Tshisekedi faces 18 other candidates, including millionaire Moïse Katumbi, who served as governor of Katanga province for eight years. However, the opposition’s fractured coalition suggests that Tshisekedi will secure a second, and final, term. The election has also been marred by accusations of poor transparency, especially after Congolese officials denied the East African Community’s election observers access to the polls.

Migrant and asylum pact. In a bid to better share migrant responsibility, the European Union passed an agreement on Wednesday that outlines how members can divide cost and hosting obligations. Countries not along a continental border must choose to either accept 30,000 asylum applications a year or pay at least 20,000 euros (about $21,870) per person into an EU fund. Screening processes will be sped up, and immigrants will be distinguished by their need for international protections.

Greece, Italy, and other countries most impacted by migration flows praised the deal, which they argued will force hesitant Eastern European nations to help bear the burden.


Customs officials at Peru’s Jorge Chávez International Airport seized 4,001 live turtles en route to Indonesia recently after noticing discrepancies in the shipment’s documentation. Freshwater turtle eggs and meat are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world.

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