EU expands monitoring mission on Gaza border

The European Union said Thursday it was extending its monitoring mission on the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip for another year. The decision was welcomed by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana who was in the region holding talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to ensure the crossing stays open and that they allow the EU's 87 observers at the crossing to do their job. "A key aim of the EU through the EU Border Assistance Mission Rafah is to promote cooperation and trust between the parties," said a statement issued by Solana's office. EU nations gave their green light to extend the Rafah mission until May 24, 2008, on the basis that it be approved by Israeli and Palestinian officials.