Israel denies German minister entry into Gaza

June 20, 2010 19:10

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Sunday criticized Israel's decision to deny a German minister entry to Gaza.

"I regret the decision by the Israeli government to refuse to let German Development Minister Dirk Niebel into Gaza," Westerwelle said in a statement. "It remains the German government's goal to completely end the blockade of Gaza. This is not only Germany's belief, but also that of our partners in the European Union."

Israel imposed a blockade of Gaza three years ago after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip.

Westerwelle said German government officials, including himself, had asked their Israeli counterparts several times to allow Niebel to enter Gaza.

Niebel is currently on an official three-day trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. He wanted to go to Gaza on Sunday to visit a sewage plant financed with German aid, a ministry spokesman said.

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