x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

EU foreign policy chief condemns Gaza violence

Catherine Ashton condemns "any kind of violence" after Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fire a rocket into Israel, killing one man.

The EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned "any kind of violence" today after Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, where she was on a brief visit, fired a rocket into Israel, killing one man. "I condemn any kind of violence, we need to move forward to get the peace process moving toward a successful resolution," Lady Ashton told reporters in Gaza. As she toured the coastal enclave a rocket slammed into the Netiv Ha'assera kibbutz in Israel, a few kilometres from the Gaza border.

Earlier Lady Ashton's first stop was a UN-run girls' school in the Jabalya refugee camp. The English baroness was also due to hold talks with UN officials during her brief visit to Gaza, which is still struggling with the aftermath of the devastating 22-day military offensive Israel launched in December 2008 in response to Palestinian rocket attacks. She has made it clear she would not meet any officials from Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since ousting forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in a week of deadly fighting in 2007.

Hamas remains on the EU and US lists of "terrorist" organisations. Israel and Egypt impose a tight embargo on the Gaza Strip only allowing in basic and humanitarian supplies. Lady Ashton was on a five-day tour of the region ahead of Friday's meeting of the Middle East diplomatic Quartet in Moscow. She has also visited Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel as well as the West Bank. * AFP