Palestinian PM argues for official opening of border crossings

Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayad argued Wednesday that Gaza's borders should be opened officially, and also pressed for an end to Israeli settlement expansion. Fayad, whose West Bank-based government has little influence in Hamas-controlled Gaza, met with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier as thousands of Gazans poured into Egypt after gunmen blasted down a barrier. "The Palestinians in Gaza get only very little, which is just enough to survive," Fayad said through an interpreter after meeting Steinmeier. "What happened yesterday and today is clear evidence that the situation cannot remain this way and that it is important to open the crossings again officially." He did not elaborate on how the crossings should be opened. Fayad also underlined the importance of Palestinian concerns over Israeli settlement construction - a key obstacle to past peace talks, and an issue that recently has returned to complicate current peace efforts.