UK offers naval help to monitor Gaza

British PM: "We won't be found lacking in support we can give;" Germany, Italy, France also pledge help.

gordon brown uk pm 224.88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
gordon brown uk pm 224.88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Saturday that Britain had offered naval resources that could be used to help prevent arms smuggling into Gaza as part of an arrangement to end the fighting there. Brown told reporters that France and Germany had made similar offers in a bid to curtail the bloodshed. "The Israelis, Egyptians and Palestinian Authority know this offer is available," he said. "I think this may make it easier for people to come to a cease-fire." Brown said that if a cease-fire is reached, Britain has people ready to enter Gaza to provide humanitarian aid to help relieve the obvious suffering. "Britain will not be found lacking in the support we can give," he said. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's office released a statement indicating that she, Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy had sent letters to Israeli and Egyptian leaders expressing a willingness to take a series of concrete measures to combat arms smuggling. She said they all expressed support for "the efforts of the Israeli and Egyptian governments to reach a lasting cease-fire in Gaza." Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi also joined in the offer of help, his office said Saturday. European diplomats are part of a global push to calm the situation in Gaza, where more than 1,100 Palestinians and 13 Israelis have been killed since an Israeli offensive against Hamas terrorists began in late December. No agreement to end the fighting has yet been reached.