Solana: Gaza peace force possible

EU chief says Palestinians, Israelis, Egyptians may agree to int'l troops.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
June 6, 2007 22:37
1 minute read.
rafah crossing, closed 298 ap

rafah crossing, closed 2. (photo credit: AP)

 
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It is possible that an international peacekeeping force would be stationed in the Gaza Strip, even though it would probably be difficult for Egypt to agree to its deployment, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana said on Wednesday. Solana told the European Parliament in Brussels that "for the first time in many, many years, the idea of an international force" was not out of the question. Solana said two groups in the Knesset had said it may be the moment to call for such a force south of Rafah Crossing. "We are working on that," he said. "The Israelis are also considering that possibility, the Palestinians are considering that possibility, the Egyptians are considering that possibility." Solana said it would probably be difficult for Egypt as deployment of such a force might give the impression it was not able to control that part of the border. However, he added: "I think we can still get into discussions on these issues and maybe eventually get a solution." The EU's External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told the parliament an international mechanism to provide direct aid to the Palestinians would be extended for a further three months. She said humanitarian conditions remained "dire" and urged EU members states to offer extra funds.

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