European Union calls on Israel, Hamas to end violence

December 30th, 2008 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Dec 30 (DPA) The European Union (EU) Tuesday urged Israel and Hamas to put an end to the ongoing violence immediately as the fighting showed no sign of abating.The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, is “deeply concerned” by the situation in the Gaza Strip and “calls for an immediate halt to military hostilities that are having a heavy impact on the civilian population in Gaza”, a statement said.

The Brussels-based body “also firmly calls for a halt to the rocket attacks (launched from Gaza by Islamist group Hamas) targeting Israeli civilians”, which Israeli officials say are the direct cause of the flare-up in violence.

And the commission urged Israel to allow aid workers into Gaza, saying that the closure of the salient’s links to the outside world was making an already difficult humanitarian situation worse.

The commission “insists on the need for sufficient access for supplies of essential humanitarian goods to Gaza … Urgent measures have to be taken in order to ensure safe and secure conditions for the distribution of these goods and to facilitate access of international agencies”, the statement said.

It is the second time in four days that the EU has called for an end to the fighting in the Middle East. On Saturday the French government, current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, and top diplomats issued a series of statements pleading for a ceasefire.

EU foreign ministers are set to hold an emergency meeting in Paris Tuesday evening to discuss the 27-member bloc’s response to the latest crisis.

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