Spain seeks global push for Gaza ceasefire

5th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

The world must continue pushing for a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians, says Spain's foreign minister.

MADRID – Spain's foreign minister on Sunday called on the world community to keep pushing for a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians, a day after Israeli ground forces entered Gaza after more than a week of air raids.

"The government of Spain feels that the international community cannot remain with its arms crossed, passive. We have to step up our diplomatic and political efforts to achieve this ceasefire," Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told public radio RNE.

"Not only a ceasefire, which is the most immediate need, but we must also start exploring ways to set up an international presence that can supervise and ensure that there is security for both sides and that this type of crisis will not be repeated," he added.

Moratinos, a former European Union Middle East envoy, said the bloc could play a "very important role" in controlling crossing points on the Gaza-Israel border as it already does on the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

"We have moved to a much more serious situation, the totally condemnable provocation on the part of Hamas has led to a new military intervention on the part of Israel in Gaza, which I hope will end as soon as possible," he said.

Speaking in India where she is on an official visit, Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa de la Vega echoed Moratinos' call for a ceasefire.

"I want to once again make a call for peace, a call for the noise of weapons, tanks and bombs to fall silent to make way for the strength of dialogue and reason," she said in comments broadcast on Spanish television.

"I am making, from here, a call for a ceasefire in the Middle East for the good of all men and women who put peace in front of the brutal blinders of war," she added.

Israel says it is responding to rockets fired from Gaza by Hamas.

Since it began its assault on Gaza on 27 December 2008 at least 500 Palestinians have been killed, medics say. Most died in the eight days of air bombardments preceding the ground incursion.

The Israeli army said one of its soldiers had been killed while hospital sources said another 30 troops had been wounded in clashes.

[AFP / Expatica]

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