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Dutch PM to visit Ramallah Sunday

Dec. 7, 2013 10:28 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 8, 2013 3:25 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, along with various other EU ministers, will visit Ramallah Sunday, Palestinian Authority Director of Border Crossings Nathmi Muhanna told Ma'an on Friday.

Muhanna told Ma'an Friday that Rutte would visit the Gaza Strip Sunday to supply a security scanner to the Kerem Shalom crossing, but a Palestinian foreign ministry official later denied this report via telephone.

Omar Shaban, the Dutch government's adviser in Gaza, said earlier this week that Rutte would meet with President Mahmoud Abbas during his visit.

Rutte's visit will promote economic cooperation between the Netherlands and Palestine, Shaban said in a statement.

The Dutch PM will also meet with businesspeople in Bethlehem to discuss future cooperation in the food industry and agriculture, the statement said.

Shaban added that Rutte would meet with Israeli officials and urge them to allow more imports and exports to travel through border crossings, particularly food and agricultural products.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.

The blockade has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans.
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