Vienna, 8 November 2006 - Today, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik expressed her dismay at Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip, which yesterday cost the lives of 19 people, among them women and children.
"I would like to express my deep sympathy to all those who have lost family members and/or relatives. The Israeli military operations - like the missile bombardment of Israel from the Gaza Strip - must be brought to a halt. Continued violence cannot be the way to win the support of the sorely afflicted population in the Middle East for approaches to peace," said Plassnik.
For this reason, Plassnik said, the announcement of Hamas of an end to the ceasefire with Israel had to be firmly rejected. "The spiral of violence and counter-violence is devastating. It kills the hope for an option for a future not based on bloodshed and repression," stated the Foreign Minister. Those responsible on the Palestinian side were called upon to continue their efforts to form a government of national unity in line with the intentions of President Mahmoud Abbas. According to Plassnik, the Israeli government’s announcement that the bombardment would be stopped until the tragic incident was fully investigated was a first step in the right direction. In this context she welcomed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s expression of regret about Israel’s military action.
The Foreign Minister pointed out that the international community and the European Union were prepared to provide long-term support to the parties to the conflict in their renewed quest for peace. "What is imperative now is that the hostilities cease and that both sides renounce violence in order to put an end to the sufferings of innocent people," emphasised Plassnik.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
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