Spindelegger on the situation in Gaza: "Stability and security not achievable through military means"
Paris, 30 December 2008 - "Austria is deeply worried about a further escalation of the situation in the Middle East, which is threatening to get out of control", Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger stressed today in the run-up to an extraordinary meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers convened by France this evening in Paris.
Spindelegger welcomed the French initiative for this emergency meeting:"In this situation, it is important to send a clear signal of commitment from the European side. I expect a clear condemnation of violence from this meeting, and a call to a resumption of the ceasefire.We must clearly express that military means are in no way suitable for guaranteeing stability and security in the region."
The Foreign Minister stressed that, in view of the more than dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, it is now decisive to ensure the supply of an already suffering population."Our primary objective should therefore be to reach a temporary humanitarian ceasefire, at least to allow the relief supplies to reach the suffering population.The EU should engage toward this together with its international partners."
"The unilateral announcement of the end to the ceasefire by Hamas was clearly a step in the wrong direction.We demand an immediate stop to the rocket attacks against Israel from within the Gaza Strip.The right of the Israeli people to a life in peace and security without permanent threat from rocket attacks must be guaranteed", stressed Spindelegger.
At the same time, Spindelegger pointed out to the call addressed to Israel by the EU to avoid all disproportionate action."Israel's legitimate right to self-defence is undisputable.It is clear, however, that even during military operations, international law must be complied with.The large number of civilian victims in recent days is unacceptable."
The Foreign Minister expressed Austria's full support for repeated calls by UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon to all parties in the region to show utmost restraint."All moderate powers are called upon to break the spiral of violence and not to play into the hands of the extremists", stressed Spindelegger.
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