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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Irish foreign minister arrives in Gaza

GAZA, - Irish foreign minister Micheal Martin arrived in Gaza Strip on Thursday on a brief visit during which he is scheduled to visit hospitals, schools and devastated areas.

The crossings department said that the minister, who is heading a 10-member delegation, was received on arrival by officials of the UN office in Gaza.

The minister in a terse statement on arrival noted that his visit to Gaza was the first of its kind across the Rafah crossing and that he wanted to tour Gaza to see for himself what the conditions in the Strip are.

Martin had previously charged Israel with blocking his visit to Gaza via Beit Hanun (Erez) crossing, adding that it did not present a logical explanation for refusing the visit.

Martin asked for a halt to Israeli settlement drive in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank and to the policy of forced expulsion and evacuation of Palestinian citizens.

The minister rejects the policy of siege and has called for reconsidering pressure means to attain a political settlement based on the two-state solution.

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