Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq on Wednesday told the Palestinian Authority-based Ma'an news agency that indirect ceasefire negotiations between Palestinians and Israel will restart within the next week.
Abu Marzouq said that while the exact date had not yet been set, "it would definitely be before the 24th of the current month."
The Hamas leader also said that the United Nations will take charge of the reconstruction of Gaza in coordination with Israel and the Palestinian Arab unity government, adding that Hamas would not object to any methods taken by the UN in reconstruction.
Abu Marzouq added that he is waiting for a phone call from the head of the Fatah delegation in Cairo, Azzam al-Ahmad, to set a time and place for an awaited meeting between Fatah and Hamas leaders.
"The movement does not mind meeting in Cairo if it agrees, but if it doesn't, the meeting will be held in Gaza," he told Ma’an.
The talks between Israel and the Palestinian Arab factions started after 50 days of deadly fighting between Israel and Hamas terrorists ended on August 26 with an open-ended truce agreement.
Under terms of the deal, the parties agreed to resume Egyptian-brokered negotiations within a month to discuss key issues, including Hamas's unprecedented demand for a port and an airport and for terrorist releases, as well as Israel's demands for the area's demilitarization.
The comments Wednesday are in line with Abu Marzouq’s statements from last week, when he said it was "expected that the talks would resume in mid-September."
The Hamas leader made some headlines last week when he said the terrorist group could be forced to negotiate directly with Israel.
Asked if Hamas would contemplate negotiating directly with Israel, Abu Marzouq said it might be needed.
"If the situation remains as it is now... Hamas could find itself forced to do this," he told the Palestinian Al-Quds TV, referring to the dire humanitarian situation and continued blockade on Gaza.
The comments were rejected by the head of Hamas’s political bureau, Khaled Mashaal, who said Hamas would not negotiate “with the occupier”.