February 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Monday a broader truce would "maybe" be agreed next week for the Gaza Strip, where a fragile ceasefire has been in place since Israel ended a military offensive on Jan. 18.

"We have discussed the date when the situation could calm down, maybe from next week," said Mubarak, speaking through an interpreter and referring to attempts to reach a "consolidated" deal to stabilise the Hamas-ruled Strip.

Diplomats have said Egypt was working on a proposal that calls for an extended truce between Israel and Hamas, a prisoner exchange and the loosening of the blockade on the Palestinian Strip.

Under the plan, Israel would halt attacks in Gaza and Hamas would stop cross-border rocket fire for up to 18 months. Such a deal would replace the Jan. 18 truce that ended Israel's 22-day offensive, in which more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed.

There have been multiple violations of the existing truce.

Speaking in Paris after a meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy, Mubarak said he had asked the French leader to co-preside a donors' conference for the reconstruction of Gaza in Cairo on March 2.


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