EU to act in Gaza if political solution is reached, Solana says

Other News Materials 3 February 2008 17:21 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - On a two-day-visit in Egypt, European foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the European Union (EU) is ready to take up its role in the Gaza Strip, if a political solution is agreed on, sources said on Sunday.

A member of Solana's delegation, who requested anonymity, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that Solana's meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Abu al-Gheit covered regional issues, including Lebanon's political crisis, and the upcoming EU-Arab Summit in Malta.

Earlier, Hamas had rejected the US-brokered 2005 deal which allowed the Rafah monitoring post to be activated with Palestinian Authority personnel serving alongside European Union monitors.

But the crossing point has been closed since June last year, when Hamas seized control of the Strip after its gunmen routed forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas in five days of savage fighting.

In late January, Hamas militants blew huge holes in the concrete and metal border fence between Gaza and Egypt, enabling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flood through the breach and mostly head for al-Arish, 50 kilometres away, to stock up with supplies made scarce by the Israeli economic blockade. The Israelis imposed the blockade as a means of pressure to stop Palestinian rocket attacks.