Germany calls on Israel to ease Gaza blockade
FM Steinmeier visits Gaza Strip, calls for opening of borders in exchange for an end to rocket attacks.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called Monday on Israel to ease the blockade on Gaza, but also urged Palestinians to ensure that rocket attacks from the Strip cease definitely.

" Gaza has become unbearable. The status quo is not sustainable. This cannot and should not stay as it is now,” Steinmeier said during an unscheduled visit to theGaza Strip on Monday.

He visited Gaza on the final day of a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, and met with families, students and fishermen.

Steinmeier called for opening the borders of Gaza and underlined the need for fostering reconstruction and creating future perspectives for the young people.

But he also demanded steps from Palestinians to ensure that no more rockets be fired from the Gaza Strip to Israel.

"Under the most difficult conditions, all these could only be realized, if one can really be sure that no more rocket attacks are launched from the Gaza Strip,” Steinmeier stressed.

Germany is among the leading nations providing development aid to Palestinians. The country has provided 150 million euros ($164 million) in aid to Palestine in 2013.

During his official talks with Israeli officials on Saturday, Steinmeier renewed Germany’s support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and urged both parties to take steps towards reviving the peace process.

Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators grounded to a halt a year ago over Israel's refusal to release a group of Palestinian prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so.

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Last Modified: 2015-06-03 08:14:12
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