Six EU leaders pledge to end arms smuggling into GazaJanuary 19th, 2009 - 2:02 pm ICT by ANI
Jerusalem, Jan.19 (ANI): Six European leaders arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday and made a commitment to ending the arms smuggling into Gaza.
Earlier in the day, the militant group Hamas announced its own one-week cease-fire and issued an ultimatum to Israel to withdraw its troops from Gaza within that time.
The announcement was made by Hamas officials in Syria. Later, Hamas representatives in the Strip also issued a statement saying they would honor the cease-fire.
Despite the uncertainty over the tenuous cease-fire, the Jerusalem Post quoted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as telling a gathering of European leaders that Israel is determined to withdraw its troops.
“We didn”t set out to conquer Gaza, we didn”t set out to control Gaza, we don”t want to remain in Gaza, and we intend on leaving Gaza as fast as possible,” Olmert said in an address to the European leaders at the Prime Minister’’s Residence in Jerusalem.
He noted that the leaders of Britain, Italy, Germany and France had pledged in a letter to Israel that they would work to stop the flow of weapons from getting to the “murderous organizations” in Gaza.
“This is in the supreme interest of all those who fight the forces of evil,” Olmert said.
The delegation consisted of Czech Prime Minister and current EU President Mirek Topolanek, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
It was followed by a gala dinner at Olmert’’s residence, which was also attended by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu.
The lightning visit by the six leaders, who came to Israel after attending a peace summit earlier in the afternoon at the Egyptian resort of Sharm e-Sheikh. (ANI)
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