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25 May 2007
EU High Representative for CFSP,
calls for the restoration of calm and unity
during his visit to the Palestinian Territories
Gaza, 24 May 2007
During his visit to the Palestinian Territories on Thursday, Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), met Mahmoud ABBAS, President of the Palestinian Authority, and Foreign Minister Ziad Abu AMR in Gaza. He also met Salam FAYYAD, Minister of Finance, and Saeb EREKAT, Head of the Palestinian Negotiation Team in Ramallah. The following is an edited summary of remarks by Mr SOLANA at a joint press conference with President ABBAS in Gaza:
"I am very pleased to be here in Gaza. I wanted to come to be with you at this moment. I wanted to show solidarity with President Abbas and to be here in person.
We talked about many topics, including the inter-Palestinian violence and the violence between Palestinians and Israel. President Abbas is making huge efforts to find a way to stop the factional violence. He is having meetings with all the factions and all the parties to try to improve the situation. The President is staying in Gaza for as long as it takes.
Tension has been going up too much, it must come down. The rocket attacks against Israel must stop. This violence leads nowhere. I think there is a feeling among Palestinians that violence does not lead anywhere. We need dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, to solve the problems like sensible do.
We talked about economic aid. We will continue to work and try to solve the economic problems the Palestinian people are facing. We also talked about the Rafah border crossing point. This is very important for you, in particular for you the people here in Gaza. We have been asked to stay and we have agreed to do so, to help you as much as we can.
We also talked about Lebanon. I met Prime Minister Siniora on Tuesday in Beirut. I was there to show my support in a difficult moment and to help the Prime Minister in his efforts to calm a difficult situation.
We talked about the region as a whole. We must see how we can calm down the violence and return to a culture of politics and diplomacy.
I want to say that it is a great pleasure for me to be here. My presence in Gaza is a sign of the solidarity of the European Union with the Palestinian people. "
In answer to a question by a journalist concerning the arrests that morning by Israel of members of Hamas, Mr SOLANA indicated that arresting elected representatives was not helpful.