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GAZA CITY: Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will make their first visit to Gaza, officials from the Hamas government said yesterday.
“Tunisia President Marzouki will carry out a very important visit to the Gaza Strip on February 9,” Hamas official Ghazi Hammad said, without giving details of the president’s itinerary, or who would be accompanying him.
“This important visit will boost Arab solidarity with the Palestinian cause,” Hammad added, saying “this solidarity must be used to achieve Palestinian national reconciliation.”
Marzouki’s visit will be the latest in a string of high-profile trips to Gaza by Arab and Muslim leaders.
During last November’s eight-day war between Gaza fighters and Israel, a delegation of Arab foreign ministers, along with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davatoglu, visited the small coastal territory on a solidarity mission.
Earlier in 2012, Qatar’s Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became the first senior international leader to visit Gaza since Hamas took control of the territory from the rival Fatah movement in 2007.
Malaysian Prime Minister will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and other officials on the one-day visit tomorrow, an aide to the prime minister said on condition of anonymity.
The aide declined to give details of the visit or its purpose, saying that an official statement would be issued today.
In Gaza, officials said Najib would arrive from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing, and would meet Hamas premier Ismail Haniyah before holding a joint news conference.
The visits have been made possible in part by Egypt’s decision to loosen some of the restrictions on travel through its Rafah border crossing with Gaza.