EU calls crisis meeting on Gaza violence

December 30th, 2008 - 4:34 am ICT by IANS  

Brussels/Paris, Dec 30 (DPA) The French government Monday called for an emergency meeting of the European Union’s (EU) foreign ministers to discuss the crisis in the Middle East, officials confirmed.France, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency until Thursday, has called for a meeting of the top diplomats of the bloc’s 27-member states in Paris Tuesday to “discuss the EU’s contribution to solving the current crisis”, a statement said.

That solution will be “in liaison with the efforts of the international community, especially those of the secretary general of the United Nations,” the statement said.

France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who is to chair the meeting, is in contact with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

On Saturday, as Israel launched air-strikes on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for numerous rocket and mortar attacks from the zone, the EU issued a statement calling on both sides to cease their violence. Neither side took heed of the appeal.

Tuesday’s crisis meeting is set to be the sixth of France’s six-month EU presidency.

The Czech Republic is set to take over the EU’s presidency Thursday. Tuesday’s meeting was coordinated with the Czechs, the French statement said.

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