Thursday, January 8, 2009

And they had lunch...

Bush Sr, Obama, Bush Jr., Clinton, J. Carter

The Netherlands undertakes diplomatic initiative on Israel and Gaza

The Netherlands, backed by Denmark, has undertaken a diplomatic initiative to expedite a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza. The Netherlands and Denmark are proposing a European mission to closely monitor the border between Egypt and Gaza.
Dutch Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen and his Danish counterpart Per Stig Møller have written to the EU presidency to announce their initiative.

‘An early, permanent ceasefire will be possible only if Israel believes that Hamas will not again arm itself with rockets. It will then be possible to reopen Gaza’s borders for humanitarian and economic assistance, which are so urgently needed,’ Mr Verhagen explained. ‘That means supervising the border with Egypt to make it watertight. The Netherlands is willing to examine how it can contribute to an international supervisory force.’

On Monday and Tuesday, Mr Verhagen had telephone talks with his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He also urged the Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki to use his influence on Hamas to stop further bloodshed.

Minister Verhagen is shocked by the reports of many casualties following a military operation that hit a school in Gaza, and he has expressed his deepest sympathy with the bereaved. ‘I regret the many civilian casualties on the Palestinian side, just as I regret the civilian casualties on the Israeli side,’ he said. ‘The Netherlands expects Israel to live up to its commitment to do everything possible to prevent further civilian casualties.’

Day Opening - January 8

Winter, the Netherlands.