Special report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts
JERUSALEM, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has left for the United States to ink an agreement with Washington which aims to end the arms smuggling from Egypt into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, local daily The Jerusalem Post reported Friday.
Livni left late Thursday night for Washington after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice phoned Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and said her country would sign the agreement, said the report.
"Olmert authorized Thursday evening the trip of Livni to the United States in order to promote an American-Israeli outlined agreement intended to deal with weapons smuggling," Israeli Prime Minister's office said in a statement.
Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Aaron Abramovich had been in Washington for talks on the agreement, which would intensify intelligence cooperation in efforts to block smuggling routes before the weapons are flowed through tunnels linking Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Coupled with Egyptian commitments to step up their efforts along the border together with international assistance, the agreement would be part of a mechanism Israel has demanded as part of a ceasefire with Hamas, said the report.
Arms smuggling from Egypt to Gaza is a major concern for Israel. The Jewish state has repeatedly said that the goals of its ongoing Cast Lead Operation, which entered the 21st day on Friday, are to stop the arms smuggling and put an end to anti-Israel activity from Gaza.