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25 November 2005
UK Foreign Secretary on behalf of the European Union welcomes the deployment of the EU mission to observe the Rafah border
"Today is a day of great significance in the long search for peace in the Middle East. The deployment of General Pietro Pistolese and his team at Rafah, will allow the border between Gaza and Egypt to be re-opened following Israel’s withdrawal. This is the first time that the Palestinians have had control over one of their own borders. The re-opening of this border will have a real impact on the lives of Gazans: it will improve the economic prospects of the Palestinian people and allow them greater freedom of movement.
"This EU mission demonstrates the importance the international community places on securing peace in the Middle East. I pay tribute to Jim Wolfensohn’s remarkable work in helping the parties build on Israel’s courageous disengagement. The efforts of Condoleezza Rice and Javier Solana in securing the deal have also been invaluable. EU Member States and the European Commission have worked rapidly to set up the mission. Egypt has offered vital support. I want to assure General Pistolese and his team of our continued support as they undertake this important EU contribution to a sustainable peace. The EU will continue to work in support of the other aspects of the agreement on movement and access and of Jim Wolfensohn’s efforts."
FCO Press Office: 020 7008 3100