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EU foreign ministers accept invitation to visit Gaza

6 juillet 2010

At least five European Union foreign ministers, hailing from the largest countries in the bloc, have accepted an Israeli invitation to visit the Gaza strip, the Italian government said Monday.

Israel’s recent offer to let foreign dignitaries into the Palestinian territory followed an earlier pledge to relax its economic embargo on Gaza.

Both moves came in the wake of international outrage sparked by Israel’s late-May attack on a flotilla bringing in aid to the enclave, which resulted in nine dead.

« The foreign ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Britain and Spain … have positively reacted to the idea of making a visit to Gaza, » in a joint letter sent to their Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman, a statement from the Italian foreign ministry said.

Italy was the first recipient of the Israeli proposal, made by Lieberman during June 24 talks in Rome with Italian counterpart Franco Frattini.

However, the five authors of the letter stressed that « they do not consider themselves to be the only addressees » of the Israeli invitation.

They said they would like to visit Gaza « in strict coordination » with the Palestinian Authority, which has been shut off from the enclave since the militant Islamist group Hamas seized power there in 2007.

The European visit would provide the opportunity for « consultations » with both the Israeli and Palestinian sides on the ongoing peace negotiations, the Italian foreign ministry stressed.

Ministers also urged the Israeli government to follow through on its promise to ease the embargo « in the shortest time possible » and underlined the need for Israel to undertake « a fundamental policy change » on Gaza, in line with EU and United Nations recommendations.

Israel normally prevents foreign visits to Gaza because it fears they could become fodder for Hamas propaganda. It made two exceptions this March for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

Source: Haaretz

One Comment leave one →
  1. boulet permalink
    7 septembre 2010 08:26

    merci de me transmettre vos articles , on ne sait rien du fonctionnement de l’upm
    à bientot

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