( dpa ) - European foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair are to travel to the Middle East next week to work out a solution for better access to Gaza, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters after a phone conference of the Middle East Quartet, Ferrero-Waldner said the Quartet was following up the suggestion by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to hand over border controls to the Palestinian Authority.
Better access had to be provided, in particular at the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, a possible solution being bringing back the EU deal, Ferrero-Waldner said.
Under a five-way-deal in 2005 between the United States, the EU, Israel, Egypt and the Palestinians the border was to be monitored by EU observers, with additional cameras to allow Israel to view those crossing.
However, all parties had to agree to a solution, Ferrero-Waldner said. The EU was ready and willing to grant full support. "If infrastructure or equipment is needed, I will help," the EU's representative said.
"It is important that Palestinians get access to humanitarian aid," she added.
Last week, Hamas militants blew huge holes in the concrete and metal border fence between Gaza and Egypt, prompting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flood through the breach and mostly head for al-Arish, 50 kilometres distant, to stock up with supplies made scarce by the Israeli blockade.