EU top diplomat calls on Israel to further ease Gaza siege

Ashton called for the further easing of Israel's four-year siege of the Gaza Strip during a visit to the impoverished enclave.

EU top diplomat calls on Israel to further ease Gaza siege

The European Union’s top diplomat Catherine Ashton on Sunday called for the further easing of Israel’s four-year siege of the Gaza Strip during a visit to the impoverished enclave.

At the height of the international uproar that followed the flotilla raid, in which nine Turkish activists were shot dead by Israeli naval commandos, Israel said it would begin allowing some "civilian goods" into Gaza.

"We've made it clear that we want to see the potential for the people of Gaza to live an ordinary life," Ashton told reporters in the West Bank town of Ramallah before her visit.

"The position of the EU is very clear: that we want the opportunity for people to be able to move around freely or to see goods not only coming into Gaza but exports coming out of Gaza," Catherine Ashton told a news conference.

Israel still bans exports from the territory.

Ashton said she would discuss the issue later in the day with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"At the moment, there is no proposal on the table to open a port," she said. "The best option seems to be, and that is the most supported by Palestinians, is to open the land crossings, and that's what we're working on."

"There needs to be an opening of the crossings for both people and goods to flow in both directions."

“The answer here is opening the crossings,” Ashton told reporters on her first visit since Israel’s deadly May 31 attack into a Gaza-bound aid fleet sparked international demands to lift the closure.

In Gaza, Ashton visited U.N. facilities and was due to meet local businessmen. It was her second visit to the Gaza Strip in four months.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Temmuz 2010, 15:05

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