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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:48, November 22, 2005
EU sends police to monitor operations of Rafah
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The European Union (EU) is sending a police mission to Palestine to monitor the operations of the Rafah border crossing point, which Israel plans to hand over to the Palestinian authority on Nov. 25, an EU spokesperson said on Monday.

"We will send about 50-70 police officers to Rafah," said Cristina Gallach, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, in an interview with Xinhua.

On Nov. 15, Israel and the Palestinian authority reached an agreement to hand over the operation power of the Rafah border crossing point to the latter on Nov. 25.

Cristina said some EU member states were still busy selecting police officers and some officers were preparing to leave.

She said on Nov. 25, a small ceremony would be held for the hand-over.

On Monday, the foreign ministers from all 25 EU member states gathered here in Brussels, and they discussed the middle east peace process, including the EU's police mission to Rafah.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Solana spoke highly of the hand-over and the EU's police mission.

"This is a very important event. This is the first time that the Gaza strip would open to the external world," said Solana.

Solana, who has long been involved in the Middle East peace process, said the move would "bring the peace process forward."

EU external commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told the press conference that the EU's mission aimed at capacity building of the Palestinian police and customs officers.

She said the Palestinians would take on their own duties in the long run.

The commissioner also announced that the EU would deploy in mid December an Election Observation Mission (EOM) for elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, currently scheduled for Jan. 25, 2006.

Source: Xinhua

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