Fischer adds voice tocriticism of Yassin killing
22 March 2004
BRUSSELS – German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Monday added his voice to European Union condemnation of the assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
“We are very concerned about events,” Fischer told reporters. The EU and Germany had always opposed Israel’s policy of so-called targeted killings of radical Palestinian leaders, Fischer said, adding: “This is the case now.”
Fischer’s statement came as EU ministers, meeting in Brussels, prepared a joint statement warning Israel that Yassin’s killing could spark further Middle East violence.
“We will be urging all sides to show as much restraint as possible,” said an EU diplomat.
Killing Yassin could prove to be “counter-productive,” the diplomat said, adding that while Israel had the right to defend itself, extra-judicial killings were not acceptable under international law.
“This is very, very bad news,” EU foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana told reporters as the bloc,s foreign ministers discussed the Middle East crisis at their monthly talks in Brussels.
“This type of action does not contribute at all to conditions of peace and dialogue which are necessary at this moment,” Solana warned.
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin cautioned that Israel,s killing of Yassin could trigger further Israeli-Palestinian violence.
“France condemns this action at a moment when we should be mobilising further to relaunch the peace process,” de Villepin underlined.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw warned Israel that “this kind of so-called targeted killings or assassinations are quite outside international law and not justified.
The killing was also also “unlikely to achieve” Israel,s aim of ending Hamas violence, Straw warned.
The British Foreign Secretary said he understood the pressure Israel was under and said every country had the right to fight terrorism.
However, “for Israel to carry the full support of the international community, it must do it within the boundaries set by international law”.
Subject: German news