Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki gives a speech on December 17, 2012, in the central town of Sidi Bouzid
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki gives a speech on December 17, 2012, in the central town of Sidi Bouzid. Marzouki will make his first visit to Gaza on February 9, officials from the Hamas government told AFP on Sunday. © Fethi Belaid - AFP/File
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki gives a speech on December 17, 2012, in the central town of Sidi Bouzid
AFP
Last updated: January 20, 2013

Tunisian president to visit Gaza

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki will make his first visit to Gaza on February 9, officials from the Hamas government told AFP on Sunday.

"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 militants 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 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.

And on Tuesday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is expected to visit Gaza, accompanied by Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and other officials on a one-day visit.

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.

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