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Egypt Rejects CNN Claims of Sabotaging Ceasefire Talks

May 23, 2024

Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) has firmly rejected allegations published by CNN that it sabotaged ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas. Diaa Rashwan, head of SIS, denounced the article titled “Egypt Changed Terms of Gaza Ceasefire Deal” as baseless and lacking in credible sources, claiming it was contrary to international journalistic standards.

Rashwan condemned the article, asserting it aims to distort Egypt’s significant role in ceasefire negotiations in Gaza since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza in October 2023.

The head of the SIS further challenged CNN to provide specific official American or Israeli sources for its claims that Egypt had sabotaged ceasefire talks. He emphasized the importance of accuracy in reporting on sensitive issues and criticized the reliance on unnamed “informed sources.” Rashwan further stated that Egypt categorically rejects the allegations and that the SIS had sent an official letter to CNN demanding an immediate publication of Egypt’s response. 

CNN, as Rashwan confirmed, updated the article with the SIS’ response, but has otherwise not taken down the story.

Egypt’s Role Undermined

In a statement, Rashwan explained that Egypt’s mediation role was undertaken at the repeated requests of Israel and the United States, who recognized Egypt’s expertise and professionalism in managing such negotiations. He emphasized that Egypt’s involvement was based on its firm, principled stance on the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

Despite this, Rashwan stated that ‘certain parties’ have been accusing mediators like Qatar and Egypt to avoid making decisive decisions regarding the ceasefire and prisoner exchanges, using such tactics to address their own internal political crises.

The SIS head warned that continued attempts to discredit Egypt’s mediation efforts could complicate the situation in Gaza and the region. He hinted that Egypt might withdraw from its mediation role if such baseless allegations persist.

CNN’s allegations

The CNN article claimed that Egyptian intelligence altered the terms of a ceasefire proposal, leading to anger and recriminations among US, Qatari, and Israeli officials. The changes allegedly disrupted a potential deal that could have released Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners and paused the fighting in Gaza. CIA Director Bill Burns was reportedly frustrated and embarrassed by the developments, reported CNN.

CNN’s article was published weeks after Hamas announced it had accepted a ceasefire proposal mediated by Egypt. The proposal was rejected by Israel who said that the terms of the deal were not acceptable.

Since 7 October, over 35,000 people – many of them children and women – have been reported killed in the seven-month-long conflict, according to the latest data reported by WAFA Agency. An additional 79,000 were injured with many more trapped under rubble caused by Israeli airstrikes.

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