A majority of MPs back a diplomatic initiative by the Netherlands and Denmark to send an EU mission to monitor an eventual ceasefire in Gaza, news agency ANP reports on Wednesday.
The Dutch initiative, outlined by foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen, would involve an EU mission closely monitoring the border between Egypt and Gaza.
‘A speedy and permanent ceasefire is only possible if Israel is sure that Hamas will not rearm itself with rockets. Then the borders can be reopened and humanitarian and economic help allowed in,’ the ministry quoted foreign minister Maxime Verhagen as saying.
‘That means control of the border must be watertight. The Netherlands is prepared to look at how it can contribute to such international monitoring,’ the minister said.
Verhagen discussed the initiative by telephone with Israel’s foreign minister Tzipi Livni, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. He also contacted Iran’s foreign affairs minister Manouchehr Mottaki to try to get him to influence Hamas to stop the bloodbath, the ministry said.
Verhagen said he was shocked that there were so many victims of the fighting. ‘I regret that there have been so many civilian casualties on the Palestinian side, as I regret the civilian casualties in Israel,’ he said. ‘The Netherlands expects Israel to do all it can to prevent civilians becoming victims of this military campaign,’ he added.
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