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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

31 October 2005

Israel willing for EU to monitor Gaza-Egypt border

Israel is willing to allow EU observers to monitor the Rafah terminal straddling the Gaza Strip and Egypt in order to authorise the border crossing to reopen, a senior official said Monday.

The matter had been left in limbo since Israeli ground troops withdrew from the Palestinian territory in September and has provoked criticism from the international community's envoy for the pullout, James Wolfensohn.

"The ministers dealing with the matter have given their green light to the presence of European observers who will be charged with supervising the crossing of travellers to Rafah," said an aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"The checking will be carried out by the Egyptians and the Palestinian Authority on the Egyptian side of the terminal, while the European observers will be present on the Palestinian side and will keep us informed," said the official on condition of anonymity.

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