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Israeli FM meets EU Counterparts


Source: | 01-22-2009 09:34

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

Foreign ministers from Israel and the European Union have met in Brussels to discuss a way forward after Israel's three week offensive in Gaza.

The Europeans are pushing for a lasting cease-fire and smooth access for humanitarian aid while Israel is wanting help to stop arms-smuggling.

Israel's Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni, center, talks to the media during a press conference at the end of her meeting with European Union Foreign Affairs Ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels, Wednesday Jan. 21, 2009.(AP Photo/Thierry Charlier)
Israel's Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni, center,
talks to the media during a press conference at the
end of her meeting with European Union Foreign Affairs
Ministers at the EU Council building in Brussels, 
Wednesday Jan. 21, 2009.(AP Photo/Thierry Charlier)

Israel's foreign minister wants to clinch a deal committing the EU to contributing forces, ships and technology to anti-smuggling operations. But EU officials say it's too early for that.

Before the meeting, the European External Relations Commissioner said they have to make the cease-fire sustainable.

Benita Ferrero-Walder, EU External Relations Commissioner, said, "I think this is most important and for that to happen of course we really want to then see the borders open, at least for humanitarian delivery and for cash because what the population needs if of course, food, fuel, water, the basic things."

As Palestinians and the international community face the massive task of rebuilding Gaza, Israel has voiced concerns that Hamas will seek to extend its influence by leading the reconstruction process.

Thousands of Gazans have been made homeless by Israel's three-week offensive.

Gaza municipal officials say a first count showed some twenty thousand residential and government buildings were severely damaged and another four thousand destroyed.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei