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Hamas welcomes EU proposal to monitor crossings

June 6, 2010 7:44 P.M. (Updated: June 8, 2010 9:59 A.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas officials have supported a proposed EU plan to monitor Gaza crossings and lift the Israeli-lead siege on the coastal enclave, statements issued Sunday indicated.

Hamas leader Salah Al-Bardawil welcomed statements by Spanish Minster of Foreign Affairs Miguel Ángel Moratinos, whose country currently holds the head of the rotating EU parliament, and said the movement would would be glad to receive a European presence at all Gaza border crossings.

"We spoke with the team of the chief (foreign) representative yesterday and we are going to make a proposal over the next few days so that situations like the ones that happened (this week) will not be repeated," Moratinos told Agence-France Presse on Saturday, referring to the Israeli attack on a Turkish aid ship carrying nationals from around the globe that killed at least nine.

The ship was carrying 10,000 tons of aid, including cement, books, prefabricated houses and medical equipment in an attempt to break Israel's sea blockade of Gaza, from which it says it unilaterally withdrew in 2005.

The plan reportedly includes the activation of the EU monitoring committee at Rafah, and developing similar initiatives at at least three other crossings as well as assisting in sea patrols so that the Gaza Port could open.

"Hamas welcomes this proposal in all its aspects," Al-Bardawil said, saying first that the party "does not mind at all" EU or international presence at Rafah, and reaffirmed the party's refusal to accept Israeli policing in the south.

"Secondly, Israel should not obstruct any convoys or ships coming to the Gaza port," the official said, reiterating the importance of having a "seaport that links Gaza with the world."

As for the details, Al-Bardawil said, they need to "be studied by the Palestinian government so a consensus can be reached" on what is acceptable in terms of having international patrols in Gaza waters.

Breaking the siege on Gaza, the official said, would "contribute to the building of a modern seaport in Gaza," which he described as an essential ingredient to the revitalization of all of Gaza.
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