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Gaza: Federal Minister Steinmeier issues urgent call for humanitarian ceasefire

03.01.2009

Ahead of today's Ministerial Meeting of the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) in Jeddah, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke last night (2 January) on the phone with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan about the continuing military action in the Gaza Strip.

During the conversation, Minister Steinmeier expressly asked that the OIC's full influence be brought to bear with the aim of ending the rocket attacks by Hamas on Israeli territory. This alone could pave the way for a ceasefire, he said, during which diplomatic action could be taken to seek a political solution to the conflict.

The Federal Minister once again made it clear that the next step towards ending the hostilities must be a humanitarian ceasefire to allow urgently needed supplies to reach the civilian population. On this basis, he said, the conditions must be established step by step for opening the border crossings in Gaza, agreeing on a permanent ceasefire and entering into a political process.

He hoped that the United Nations Security Council would decide to address the matter in the weeks to come with these ends in mind. In the Minister's opinion, the deployment of observers under UN auspices would also be conceivable as a means of backing up a ceasefire agreement and supporting a political process, provided all parties give their consent and legally renounce the use of all violence.

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