Middle East

France suggests Europe could help as Gaza monitor

A Palestinian boy looks out of his damaged house after a cease-fire was declared, in the east of Khan Younes in the southern Gaza Strip August 27, 2014. (REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

PARIS: France's president called on the international community to help enforce the cease-fire in Gaza, suggesting Thursday that Europe could play a role in monitoring the dismantling of tunnels dug by Hamas as well as helping to secure gateways between Gaza and Egypt and Israel.

The comments Thursday from President Francois Hollande lacked specifics, including how a monitoring mission would be pulled together or who would lead it.

Hollande said France had proposed international supervision of the destruction of the tunnels, securing the reopening of gateways from Gaza to Israel and Egypt, and providing the Palestinian Authority "the means to respond to the humanitarian crisis and to begin reconstruction."

"Negotiation for negotiation's sake is not enough," he told a gathering of international ambassadors in Paris. "It is Europe that must pressure each one, and not just be a complaints window."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Britain, France and Germany were working toward a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for sustainable cease-fire in Gaza.

An official at the French president's office, who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity, said details on any international monitoring mission had yet to be worked out.





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